The New York Times Reports that the International Criminal Court at the Hague has issued arrest warrants for Libyan Leader Qaddafi and his son for alleged crimes against humanity, citing the killings and persecutions of unknown numbers of Libyans during the uprisings there. The story is here.
In a world subject to the rule of law and the principle that government leaders who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity should be held accountable, we would applaud the existence of an international court to prosecute alleged criminals and serve as a warning and deterrent to would be criminals. And if that system applied its rules uniformly and fairly across nations, it would be a hopeful sign civilization can make progress towards a just society.
We are a long way from that ideal, and a primary reason is the fact that the US Government, including its recent Presidents and the most senior officials of the Defense Department and intelligence agencies routinely violated international laws against aggression, kidnapping, rendition, torture, and other prisoner mistreatment.
They invaded sovereign nations based on false premises and continue to attack or occupy them, reserving the unilateral right to conduct military hostilities, kill, arrest and imprison their citizens, or render them to Guantanamo or still secret “black sites” where they can be interrogated, tortured and held indefinitely, in violation of all civilized standards.
And against all efforts to hold responsible officials accountable for these crimes, the government insists courts have no right to question, inquire or prosecute, and victims have no legal redress. There is no law.
Since the Obama Administration chose to ignore its legal obligations under treaties America has signed to investigate and prosecute such crimes and instead chose to continue some of these crimes on its own watch, it has forfeited the right to applaud the Hague for initiating the prosecution of any other country’s alleged criminals.
You’d think that all lawyers and decent members of this Administration would be profoundly ashamed and embarrassed by this, but don’t hold your breath waiting for any spokesperson to say so. Appalling.