“If I may say so, this is not a court set up to bring to book Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom or Presidents of the United States.”
These were the words of Robin Cook, now late, when he was the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary on BBC’s Newsnight programme.
This was after he had been asked if the UK government did not fear that some of its officials would be dragged to the International Criminal Court for their unjustified invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the subsequent murders of tens of thousands of citizens of those countries.
It’s refreshing — though in a dark way — that a senior British government official could be so frank about the purpose of the ICC.
What is surprising though is the capacity for some Africans to think that the ICC was established to help them when it is so clear that it is an institution used as a tool by Western countries to gain leverage in continental affairs.
While Robin Cook was blunt in his exposition of what purpose the ICC serves, the United States is even more direct.
Through the 1990s, the US Congress passed several resolutions supporting the creation of an international criminal court. But there was a catch: they wanted such an institution to steer clear of prosecuting any Americans.
Bill Clinton was involved in the negotiations leading to the 1998 Rome Statute that established the ICC in 2002.
Clinton’s interest in the Rome Statute was to protect American interests, to ensure that the US and its citizens would not be hauled before this court.
As he was leaving office, he remarked: “I will not and do not recommend that my successor submit the treaty to the (US) Senate . . . until our fundamental concerns are satisfied.”
That successor was to be George W Bush.
And we all know that instead of going the way of accountability and justice, he went to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Bush went a step further.
He not only declined to put the Rome Statue before the US Senate, he colluded with a dyed-in-the-wool neo-conservative hawk called Senator Jesse Helms to bring to the legislature the American Service-members’ Protection Act, also known as the Hague Invasion Act.
The Hague Invasion Act is an amendment to the National Defence Authorisation Act and its purpose is “to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party”.
It gives the US President authority to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel
being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court”.
In short, the US can — and will — bomb The Hague if any American is taken to that court. And now Barrack Obama says the US will not ratify the Rome Statute but will establish a “working relationship” to facilitate prosecution of America’s enemies and safeguard US global interests.
It is not only the ICC that is based at The Hague. Several international courts and tribunals sit there, and it is also the seat of the Dutch government. The US is thus prepared to wage war against anyone and everyone who dares prosecute an American for any crime under international law.
The Hague Invasion Act does not allow international courts to carry out any investigations on US soil and makes it clear that the US will not co-operate in any such investigations.
It prohibits extradition of Americans to any international court, and seeks binding bilateral agreements with nations party to the Rome Statute to bar them from prosecuting any Americans or handing them over to the ICC and related institutions.
The rest of the world, meanwhile, is continuously urged to ratify the Rome Statute and put its citizens at the mercy of a Frankenstein
Monster created by the US and the UK but which will not devour their own citizens regardless of how many people they kill and how many countries they bomb back into the Stone Age.
Thank God Zimbabwe has refused to ratify this instrument of repression and oppression! Only one-third of the world’s population falls under the ICC’s jurisdiction.
Yes, some will point out that two-thirds of the UN General Assembly’s membership has ratified — but this two-thirds represents just 33 percent of the global population.
Six of the world’s 10 biggest countries have kept the Rome Statute at arm’s length.
Key global players, apart from the US, such as China, India, Russia, Israel, Egypt and Pakistan do not want to have anything to do with the ICC. That includes three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
But a full 34 of Africa’s 54 nations have ratified this voluntary acceptance of international subservience, wilfully making themselves vassals in the global scheme of things.
This weekend the African Union is sitting to consider whether or not the continent should support the ICC.
Robin Cook’s assertion and the existence of the Hague Invasion Act should make the decision to dump this tool of conquest easier.