Recent outbursts by US president’s National Security Advisor, Michael Bolton against the International Criminal Court (ICC) are but attempts and tell porkies to distract Americans’ attention. Will Trump get away with murder or just recoil and swallow his pride? The BBC (Sept., 10, 2018) quoted Bolton as saying “we will not co-operate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.” As if it was not enough, Bolton referred to the ICC as an illegitimate court. The US was irked when the ICC indicated that it could investigate American troops in Afghanistan for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. To show how murky and spooky the situation is, Bolton added as he was quoted by the Daily Nation (Sept., 10, 2018) as saying “we will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system.” If the US goes on making good on its promises, it will be patronising itself and toppling itself from its self-proclaimed role of the leader of the free. For, freedom, among others, gyrates around the rule of law and respect of law. And the US, as a sole hegemony currently needs to lead by examples. It needs to preach water and drink water but not wine.
What looks like apologia pro vita sua, the ICC categorically said it is unfazed by threats from the US. The Daily Telegraph quoted ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda as saying that “the ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law.” Further, Bensouda said that there is a reasonable basis to believe war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan; thus, that all sides in the conflict would be examined, including members of the US armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
By all standards, US’s move is not only a violation of international law and shame but also abhorrent, duplicitous and malodorous. Ironically, when Kenyan authorities refused to cooperate with the ICC when their president and his deputy were indicted, the US condemned the same cheekiness of law it is now barefacedly replicating. Shall the ICC make good on its promises, it means, it will be on the collision course with the current only hegemony. Will the US kick-back and look while its citizens and allies are crucified? Will it too make good on its promises of going after the ICC? What precedent does the US set, especially at this time some African countries have already agitated and registered discomfort that they’d pull out of the ICC?
Under injudicious and megalomaniac holier than thou predisposition, the US is once again shooting itself in the foot. What a blow that’s unleashed by president Donald Trump’s administration thanks to his ignorance of law, international law and diplomacy. Shall Trump survive his self-inflicted wounds resulting from his collusion with Russia among many bloopers; and left in office, the US will suffer even more embarrassment and losses than the already incurred by this apathetic administration.
Losing international clout
Will the US support and use African countries that have already shown the intention to withdraw their membership from the ICC? What ramifications will this have on conflict, democracy, human rights and the general global geopolitics and realpolitik? Looking at how peace prevailed in Kenya in the elections that followed after the ICC indicted some big cheeses, shall the ICC be butchered, smothered or sabotaged, many conflicts–many countries avoided for the fear of indictments–will surge and wreak havoc to the already fragile situations in countries such as Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, South Sudan, Sudan and Togo wherein some monocratic rulers use violence to cling to power either by tinkering with the constitutions or unleashing terror to their opponents. The fear–the ICC instilled globally on the to be criminals and human right abusers–still is a deterrence without which many innocent people are likely to suffer viz. being killed, displaced and silenced.
Even if the US doesn’t kill the ICC, boycotting and disparaging it not to mention referring to it as illegitimate court doesn’t do the US and the world good, particularly at this time conflict revolving around struggle for power and resource control seems to have increased. An ideal example can be drawn from Burundi which saw some violations of human rights after president Pierre Nkurunziza enacted his illegal manoeuvres to tinker with the constitution in order to cling to power. I’d argue that the number of deaths was largely avoided or reduced by the fear of indictment by the ICC. So, too, the ongoing morass in Togo fundamentally became less brutal for fear of the ICC; otherwise the authorities wouldn’t have failed to unleash brutal forces to subdue opponents.
Creating dramas and theatrics
Additionally, facing a mega scandal resulting from the Russian collusion, Trump’s administration will stop at nothing to see to it that goes away or fade from the minds of Americans. Due to the vulnerability of his presidency, Trump would create any dramas and theatrics in order get a reprieve even temporarily as it is in this gambit. Therefore, by taking on the ICC, Trump is purposely seeking to addle Americans from his scandals, especially at this time his party is facing midterm elections. If anything, this is a ruse Trump has always employed when faced with dangers. However, the upshot here’s simple that the cockerel taught the chicks to poo in the nest. The US must respect the ICC. For, killing it won’t only create more room for big criminals to commit crimes but will also exacerbate conflict. Under the Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR, 1948), all human beings are equal and they must be practically and internationally treated so.
Source: The Citizen, Today.