ICC says it may investigate U.S. crimes in Afghanistan

After African countries reject Rome Statute

A Nov. 14 article in the New York Times suggests that the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court may investigate the United States for committing torture against captives in Afghanistan.

The ICC has almost exclusively focused its attention on alleged war crimes and acts of genocide taking place in Africa, with many cases serving U.S. imperialist interests. Governments targeted for destabilization and regime-change are indicted by the prosecutorial institution in order to isolate their leaders by threatening illegal arrests and seizures.

According to the Times article: “The international prosecutor has been considering whether to begin a full-fledged investigation into potential war crimes in Afghanistan for years. In Monday’s [Nov. 14] announcement, the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, signaled that a full investigation was likely. Still, the prosecutor did not announce a final decision on an investigation, which would have to be approved by judges, and it is unlikely that the United States will cooperate.

“The United States is not a party to the court, which was established to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. But Afghanistan is a member of the court, so allegations of crimes committed in its territory, no matter the nationality of the perpetrators, are widely considered to be fair game.”

Even though Washington was initially a signatory under the Bill Clinton presidency in 2000, the Rome Statute, which ostensibly guides the operations of the ICC, has never been ratified by the U.S. Congress. This statute set the stage for the creation of the ICC, which the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refused to recognize as a body that its citizens are subject to honor.

The Rome Statute went into effect in 2003. Successive U.S. administrations have sought to use this legal body most notably against the Republic of Sudan, headed by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and the Libyan Jamahiriya formerly led by assassinated  Col. Muammar Gaddafi. The ICC has also brought cases against the government of the Republic of Kenya under President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto.

For years these leaders accused of gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity and even genocide have been subjected to corporate and governmental media campaigns aimed at undermining their legitimacy both domestically and internationally. The ICC has never examined historical genocidal measures the U.S., Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands have carried out.

The ICC or other similar entities never acknowledged crimes of forced removal of Indigenous people, enslavement of millions and the systematic mass extermination of untold numbers on all populated continents over the last five to six centuries. Consequently, many African states and regional institutions consider the ICC biased.

During the Jubilee celebrations of the formation of the Organization of African Unity sponsored by the successor African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, discussions were held in May 2013 on withdrawal from the ICC. Routinely the European Union and the U.S. bypass the AU, in violation of diplomatic protocol, in order to hold summits that exclude key African states.

States such as Zimbabwe, Sudan and Eritrea, among others, are not invited to these gathering in Brussels and Washington. Other African governments have refused to attend in light of these neocolonial efforts by European and North American states aimed at creating divisions among members of these regional blocs.

Nine of the ten situations under ICC investigation, with three others under preliminary investigation, involve African countries.

The Republic of South Africa, Burundi and Gambia governments announced this year that they would no longer recognize the Rome Statute. Other African states that could soon withdraw include the Republic of Namibia, Kenya and Uganda, dealing the ICC a major blow.

Russia refuses to ratify

On Nov. 16, Tass reported that Moscow had no intention of ratifying the Rome Statute. Russia reportedly signed the Rome Statute on Sept. 13, 2000. However, it was never fully adopted by any Russian government since.

This announcement is likely related to an ICC report on its investigation into what it claims is the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the continuing war in Ukraine. In February 2014, with U.S. backing of Ukrainian fascist organizations, the elected government of Ukraine was overthrown.

Kiev’s new U.S.-backed regime was so anti-Russian that the people of Crimea, mostly Russian speakers, voted overwhelmingly to rejoin the Russian Federation.

Prosecute imperialist war crimes

Just over the last decade and a half, the U.S., Britain, France and other imperialist states have committed horrendous war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and other geopolitical regions aimed at eliminating independent governments and seizing their resources.

As a direct result of these massive bombings, invasions, occupations and partitions, tens of millions of people have been displaced, impoverished and disenfranchised, and millions have died.

The plight of the Palestinian people, subjected to nearly 70 years of Israeli occupation, has worsened while the imperialist governments have increased their funding, arming and diplomatic support for Tel Aviv.

At some point these crimes must be legally addressed, along with the development of the Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism and neocolonialism. The abolition of the effectiveness of the ICC should pave the way for a broader discussion on the creation of a genuine world body to pursue war crimes and the violations of the fundamental human rights of the majority of the world’s population.