On June 11, an event took place in the State Department’s information hall, which journalists have already called a “show of strength.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Attorney General William Barr gathered to criticize America’s enemy and announce new sanctions against him.
No, this is not about Russia or even China. Donald Trump opposed the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC). The property and assets of a number of US court officials have already been blocked and barred from entering US territory.
The irony is that the ICC is a kind of unwanted grandson of the United States. A child of globalization, one of the elements of the erosion of national sovereignty. The United States believed that only they would use the consequences of this erosion – to interfere in the affairs of other countries, to teach others life and democracy.
However, the child began his own life – the ideas of globalization, liberalization and common humanitarian norms have won many followers. And in 2002, after four years of procedural pregnancy, the ICC was born, a kind of “final court” set up to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity by representatives of those countries whose judiciary “does not want to or does not want to able to conduct its own investigation.
The United States did not recognize its grandson, the Rome Statute (ICC Treaty) was not ratified, but the Obama administration cooperated to one degree or another with the Court. However, Trump has other plans, especially since the ICC, as a “final court”, has pledged to investigate the crime of US troops in Afghanistan.
In 2019, he received about 700 complaints from potential victims of violence from the United States and its allies, and in March 2020, the court launched an investigation. Even then, Mike Pompeo threatened two ICC officials with sanctions against them and their families for investigating these crimes, and now all court officials involved in these investigations, as well as their families, are on the sanctions lists.
“We are not happy to punish them, but we cannot allow ICC staff and their families to come to the United States to shop or travel around our country. To enjoy these and other American freedoms at the same time, these same employees are trying to persecute the defenders of those same freedoms, “said Mike Pompeo. “We cannot and will not watch indifferently as our citizens are threatened by an illegal trial,” the secretary of state added.
Illegal – and even, according to Washington, initially biased. U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the U.S. Department of Justice “has received detailed and reliable data that raises suspicions of systemic corruption and misconduct” by the ICC. Well, according to the old tradition, he added that Moscow “manipulates” the court (at the same time again, according to the old tradition, without explaining what this manipulation is and where there is evidence of its commission). The White House therefore called the Court’s investigation into Afghanistan cases “an attack on American citizens and an encroachment on US sovereignty.”
Formally, American citizens are really at risk – even if the United States does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC. “Imagine an American soldier, sailor, pilot, Marine or scout who went with his family to rest on a European beach. For the last twenty years, this soldier has bravely defended America in … Kandahar, killing terrorists. Then suddenly the vacation turns into a nightmare. The police of this European country are taking the soldier into custody on political charges, – the Secretary of State outlines a terrible future. “The likely consequence will be the detention of a spouse to protect freedom, the theft of a child by mom and dad – all at the initiative of a Dutch prosecutor.” According to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, only US prosecutors can bring charges against American soldiers.
The future described by Mike Pompeo seems strange at first glance – there are no brave judges in the leadership of European countries who would risk arresting American soldiers, let alone start the prosecution process unilaterally and without the approval of Washington. Even now, after the sanctions and the demonstrative punishment of the ICC staff, Europe will only “buzz”. EU bureaucrats have traditionally expressed “serious concern”, and the Dutch government (on whose territory the ICC is located) has expressed its readiness to “continue the court’s full support” – but no one has promised to respond to sanctions, the paper said.
France and Switzerland, for example, have expressed concern. “This decision is a serious attack on the Court” and “calls into question the multilateralism and independence of the judiciary,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
In reality, however, Trump is looking to the future, to a future where transatlantic relations are no longer allied and where Europe is becoming increasingly independent in the decision-making process. A future in which the United States will have to prove by force its right to be above universal laws and regulations. For example, to punish with sanctions those who doubt the American exclusivity, the newspaper writes.
Translation and editing: Julian Markov
© 2020 All rights reserved. It is forbidden to reproduce in whole or in part materials and publications without the prior consent of FOCUS Information Agency!