Argument: Bush opposed ICC to protect its actions in War in Iraq

Issue Report: International Criminal Court


Dennis Kucinich. “The US Administration and the ICC”. Common Dreams. 9 Dec. 2004 – In order to fully understand the determination of the current US Administration to stand outside the ICC, thus remaining unaccountable for violations of international law, one must understand the difficult situation the Administration finds itself in for ordering a preemptive attack upon Iraq, without prior authorization of the UN Security Council.

The Administration’s case against Iraq, if it ever had a credible one, has fallen apart: Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Iraq was not attempting to get uranium from Niger. According to our own intelligence, Iraq did not have the capability, or the intention of attacking the United States. Iraq had nothing to do with the tragedy of 9/11. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of evidence which suggests the Administration used the tragedy of 9/11 as an excuse to attack Iraq, and had, indeed, been planning an attack on Iraq from the earliest days it came to power.

Unable to establish a justification for its war, unable to find the WMDs, and with its doctrine of preemption in collapse, the Administration switched its causus belli for the attack on Iraq to . . . regime change – – and made the ouster of Saddam Hussein the reason for the attack on Iraq. It is well understood that, under widely recognized international law, no nation has an inherent unilateral right to breach the sovereignty of any nation and to relieve people of any nation of their leader or government.

In the wake of the attack on Iraq, questions have been made regarding the responsibility of members of the Administration and their contractors, for authorizing torture, for the destruction and appropriation of property, unlawful confinement, attacks on civilians, attacks on civilian objects, exacting excessive incidental death, injury or damage, destroying or seizing the enemy’s property, employing poisoned weapons, and outrages upon personal dignity, all of which constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity under the International Criminal Court statute, which entered into force on July 1, 2002.

Given the public record of its conduct in Iraq, is it any wonder that the Administration, in order to avoid accountability under the ICC for the results of its own directives, would go to extraordinary efforts to weaken and even destroy the ICC, and to threaten nations which support it with economic reprisals?

The Administration has told the American people that it refuses to participate in the ICC in order to protect our troops from being brought to the Hague. One might ask should troops be held accountable and those who sent them not be accountable? In fact, all troops are protected because there is a specific provision in the ICC in which all military personnel have the right to be returned to their home country for trial. The ICC gets involved only if a suspect is being “shielded from criminal responsibility.”

It is more likely that those whose protection the administrators seek wear not the uniform of our nation, but the business suits of top civilian government officials who wrap themselves in the flag and hide behind the troops while insisting upon impunity for the deadly consequences of their own political decisions.