ICC may prosecute alleged war crimes in Aghanistan

#1
This is ludicrous to even suggest moral equivalence between the Taliban and NATO forces. Ocampo is Argentine who prosecuted military after Falklands War.


War crimes inquiry into Nato troops and Taliban insurgents

International criminal court prosecutor studying evidence of alleged crimes in Afghanistan

The prosecutor of the international criminal court is collecting information on alleged war crimes committed by Nato and the Taliban in Afghanistan, he said today.

The details emerged at a briefing on the emerging international criminal justice system, where Luis Moreno Ocampo, prosecutor of the ICC since June 2003, confirmed that he was conducting inquiries into possible criminal acts by both Taliban and Nato forces.

He said he had collected information from a variety of sources in the country, including human rights groups and the Afghan government, but was "very open" to additional information that foreign governments could provide.

US soldiers acting for Nato are being investigated for alleged torture of prisoners and use of excessive force. A dispute over whether US soldiers can be tried by the ICC is under way at the court's headquarters in the Netherlands; in 2002 the Bush administration rescinded the US signature from the Rome statute, the document that legally binds 109 states to compliance with the ICC.

Ocampo said he was also conducting preliminary investigations on possible war crimes in Georgia, Colombia and Kenya, and by Israeli forces in Gaza.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/10/war-crimes-nato-taliban
 
#2
Right, like the Taliban will take any notice...

:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Rodney2q
 
#3
Rodney2q said:
Right, like the Taliban will take any notice...
Or the Americans, as they quite deliberately pulled out from the Rome Statute for exactly this reason.
 
#4
Idrach said:
Rodney2q said:
Right, like the Taliban will take any notice...
Or the Americans, as they quite deliberately pulled out from the Rome Statute for exactly this reason.
But our current government in its infinite wisdom has signaled that it will likely sign.
 
#5
The prosecutor of the international criminal court is collecting information on alleged war crimes committed by Nato and the Taliban in Afghanistan, he said today.
Would be interested to see what the ICC would do if the Taliban are found 'guilty'. Do they get extra time in Jail for resisting arrest?
 
#6
willbilly said:
The prosecutor of the international criminal court is collecting information on alleged war crimes committed by Nato and the Taliban in Afghanistan, he said today.
Would be interested to see what the ICC would do if the Taliban are found 'guilty'. Do they get extra time in Jail for resisting arrest?
I think given the political intrigue that is inherent in any international body like the ICC, especially among the so-called developing nations, their focus will be on trying to haul people from the (more prosperous and enlightened and therefore inherently evil) ) western nations in the NATO coalition (AKA to them as "infidels.")
 
#7
jumpinjarhead said:
This is ludicrous to even suggest moral equivalence between the Taliban and NATO forces.
If war crimes have been committed by NATO forces (and I'm not suggesting they have been, merely saying that IF they have) then the ICC should certainly be investigating and charging as is appropriate
 
#8
Even if the Americans were still signed up to the ICC...like they'd give a toss anyway. Same goes for any other NATO country ........well except the UK maybe. Sort of thing our govt. would do...hand over hundreds of UK soldiers to the ICC?!
 
#9
jimmys_best_mate said:
jumpinjarhead said:
This is ludicrous to even suggest moral equivalence between the Taliban and NATO forces.
If war crimes have been committed by NATO forces (and I'm not suggesting they have been, merely saying that IF they have) then the ICC should certainly be investigating and charging as is appropriate
I may have misled you. I absolutely believe that if any allied soldier or Marine commit crimes in Afghanistan they should be investigated, prosecuted and if convicted, punished in a manner commensurate to the offense. This, however, does not at all mean that the ICC should be the forum to do that. Based on what I have seen and learned in researching various international tribunals and other organizations ( I teach various subjects relating to them at uni), I have little faith in their impartiality or competence, especially when it comes to Americans.

At least for the US, we have a quite comprehensive military justice system that we take with us wherever we deploy our forces. It is this system that has worked quite well for many years and there is no reason to doubt it will continue to work in the future.

If you are tempted to criticize the system based on the way cases may have been reported or depicted in the media or in movies, I suggest you withhold any such judgment until you can research it for yourself. I am very confident that any fair-minded person who actually gets the facts about our system will be impressed with how well it does work such that there is no need to rely on the ICC or any other international tribunal.
 
#10
Actually, the UK already has prosecuted one of its soldiers for war crimes. Using the International Criminal Court Act, Cpl Payne was court-martialled by the British Army for war crimes committed in Iraq. The International Criminal Court Act was passed to ensure that under British law, any crime that the ICC might want to prosecute, namely, war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, could be prosecuted in the UK.

As most NATO states are members of the ICC, if there were any credible evidence of war crimes committed by their armed forces in Afghanistan, they get first dibs at prosecuting their own citizens. The ‘principle of complementarity’, which the US fought very hard for, only allows the ICC to prosecute if a state is unwilling or unable to prosecute a war crime. The chances of seeing NATO soldiers in the dock at the Hague are pretty slim, because if war crimes have been committed there are effective national legal systems to deal with the crime.

As the US hasn’t ratified the Rome Statute, they’re in a trickier position. They have a bilateral immunity agreement with Afghanistan (and much of the rest of the world) guaranteeing that their nationals will not be surrendered to the ICC. The legal validity of this agreement is uncertain, but US power is not. Where international law clashes with international power, power usually wins.

Prosecutor Ocampo’s activity needs to be seen in light of the past history of the ICC. The ICC remains in its infancy and is trying it’s jolly hardest to establish itself. Its very purpose remains controversial and its past behaviour in Africa has not helped. It has come under much criticism in Uganda for only investigating the war crimes of the Lord’s Resistance Army but not prosecuting any of the Ugandan security forces despite substantial allegations of atrocities committed against the Acholi. With the arrest warrant out for Sudan’s President Bashir, the ICC has got a reputation for being anti-African and the African Union have publicly declared they will not cooperate with the ICC over Bashir’s arrest.

I imagine that by investigating war crimes in Afghanistan, the ICC is trying to prove that it is not just an African court but that it has wider global relevance. By looking at both NATO and the Taleban it is also trying to prove that the law is blind. It is to be expected that an international court charged with prosecuting war crimes is going to go looking for said crimes in a war zone. Afghanistan is a war zone, and I would say that the Court’s investigations have little to do with moral equivalence between the warring factions.

The worst that NATO has to fear is added pressure to investigate any allegations of abuse in a transparent manner. Surely this is no bad thing. In fact it may galvanise NATO to become more fully engaged in managing international perception and asserting its credentials as a disciplined and honourable body.
 
#11
outoflineinf said:
Actually, the UK already has prosecuted one of its soldiers for war crimes. Using the International Criminal Court Act, Cpl Payne was court-martialled by the British Army for war crimes committed in Iraq. The International Criminal Court Act was passed to ensure that under British law, any crime that the ICC might want to prosecute, namely, war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, could be prosecuted in the UK.

As most NATO states are members of the ICC, if there were any credible evidence of war crimes committed by their armed forces in Afghanistan, they get first dibs at prosecuting their own citizens. The ‘principle of complementarity’, which the US fought very hard for, only allows the ICC to prosecute if a state is unwilling or unable to prosecute a war crime. The chances of seeing NATO soldiers in the dock at the Hague are pretty slim, because if war crimes have been committed there are effective national legal systems to deal with the crime.

As the US hasn’t ratified the Rome Statute, they’re in a trickier position. They have a bilateral immunity agreement with Afghanistan (and much of the rest of the world) guaranteeing that their nationals will not be surrendered to the ICC. The legal validity of this agreement is uncertain, but US power is not. Where international law clashes with international power, power usually wins.

Prosecutor Ocampo’s activity needs to be seen in light of the past history of the ICC. The ICC remains in its infancy and is trying it’s jolly hardest to establish itself. Its very purpose remains controversial and its past behaviour in Africa has not helped. It has come under much criticism in Uganda for only investigating the war crimes of the Lord’s Resistance Army but not prosecuting any of the Ugandan security forces despite substantial allegations of atrocities committed against the Acholi. With the arrest warrant out for Sudan’s President Bashir, the ICC has got a reputation for being anti-African and the African Union have publicly declared they will not cooperate with the ICC over Bashir’s arrest.

I imagine that by investigating war crimes in Afghanistan, the ICC is trying to prove that it is not just an African court but that it has wider global relevance. By looking at both NATO and the Taleban it is also trying to prove that the law is blind. It is to be expected that an international court charged with prosecuting war crimes is going to go looking for said crimes in a war zone. Afghanistan is a war zone, and I would say that the Court’s investigations have little to do with moral equivalence between the warring factions.

The worst that NATO has to fear is added pressure to investigate any allegations of abuse in a transparent manner. Surely this is no bad thing. In fact it may galvanise NATO to become more fully engaged in managing international perception and asserting its credentials as a disciplined and honourable body.
No disagreement from me as long as the US continues to have jurisdiction over its own forces. I just hope the current administration continues to listen to their senior leadership in uniform on the need avoid the ICC for many of the same reasons you cite.
 
#12
jumpinjarhead said:
No disagreement from me as long as the US continues to have jurisdiction over its own forces. I just hope the current administration continues to listen to their senior leadership in uniform on the need avoid the ICC for many of the same reasons you cite.
As long as the US continues to prosecute its service men and women where there is suitable evidence, then there is no need for the ICC. Ditto the UK, regardless of the current difference in the treaty status.

Oh, what do we have from the BBC - no friend of the US military:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8239206.stm said:
Green was discharged from the 101st Airborne before the case came to light.

He was the first ex-soldier to be charged under a US law that allows prosecution for crimes committed overseas.
Seems fine to me. And I don't really have a problem with the US thinking that a court stacked with pinko liberals (in so far as too many misunderstand 'liberal') and cheese-eating surrender monkey wannabees might just try for a politically motivated trial of a carefully selected American serviceman.

I mean, it's not as if the UK government hung Col Mendoza out to dry, shortly after he was decorated for his performance on the same tour he was prosecuted over, is it?
 
#13
If the ICC wants to look at prosecuting somebody for war crimes, it would be a good place to start if they investigated how Blair lied to Parliament and the British people in order to wage his war in Iraq. There are serious questions regarding the legality of the conflict so why should the political leadeship be immune whilst the poor bloody Tommy gets hung out to dry?
 
#15
Idrach said:
Oh, what do we have from the BBC - no friend of the US military:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8239206.stm said:
Green was discharged from the 101st Airborne before the case came to light.

He was the first ex-soldier to be charged under a US law that allows prosecution for crimes committed overseas.
This case demonstrates my point that the US has mechanisms to deal with its own criminals, whether through courts martial or civilian court where the accused has been discharged before being charged with the crime. I am obviously not a big fan of the notion of nations' surrendering their sovereignty to international organizations.
 
#16
Will the ICC be looking to indite Gen Dostum for his prisoner handling techniques during the original Northern Alliance defeat of the Taliban ?

Lots of spare Terry and nowhere to put them ? Why not stuff 2000 of them into 40 ft containers and then lock the doors ? You literally need do nothing else. - except dig some pits.

http://afghanistan.phrblog.org/
 
#17
Dostum should certainly be considered a war criminal, but since the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed on or after 1 July 2002 (date on which the Statute of Rome entered into force), I think he's in the clear with regards to the container stuffing incident.
 
#18
outoflineinf said:
Dostum should certainly be considered a war criminal, but since the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed on or after 1 July 2002 (date on which the Statute of Rome entered into force), I think he's in the clear with regards to the container stuffing incident.
Details, details....
 
#19
jumpinjarhead said:
Idrach said:
Oh, what do we have from the BBC - no friend of the US military:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8239206.stm said:
Green was discharged from the 101st Airborne before the case came to light.
He was the first ex-soldier to be charged under a US law that allows prosecution for crimes committed overseas.
This case demonstrates my point that the US has mechanisms to deal with its own criminals, whether through courts martial or civilian court where the accused has been discharged before being charged with the crime.
Which was exactly the point I was trying to make?

However, I suspect we are probably in more danger of malicious prosecution from the interference of our own politicians (trying to make themselves look like recently dry-cleaned angels and not at all responsible for actually sending troops to war) than we are from the ICC or the Hague.

I am obviously not a big fan of the notion of nations' surrendering their sovereignty to international organizations.
I feel exactly the same way about the EU.

jumpinjarhead said:
outoflineinf said:
Dostum should certainly be considered a war criminal, but since the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed on or after 1 July 2002 (date on which the Statute of Rome entered into force), I think he's in the clear with regards to the container stuffing incident.
Details, details....
But very relevant ones, especially as we are considering Obama signing the US up to the statute. At which point, I suspect, the ICC would only be able to prosecute US citizens for crimes committed after their accession to the treaty, rather than it being back-dated to 2002. But then I'm not a lawyer.

However, it is interesting what we are now seeing called "war crimes" in the media. It isn't the mass rapes or murders or attempted genocide. It's the accidental killing of civilians during the destruction of legitimate military targets - the stolen fuel tankers, for example. With far too many lawyers around, this is looking dangerous.
 

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