US Trashes ICC, But Wants It to Charge Russians

Marjorie Cohn delves into the U.S. double standard in using an international court to prosecute war crimes. 

International Criminal Court in The Hague. (OSeveno, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Marjorie Cohn

Although the United States has tried mightily to undermine the International Criminal Court since it became operational in 2002, the U.S. government is now pushing for the ICC to prosecute Russian leaders for war crimes in Ukraine. Apparently, Washington thinks the ICC is reliable enough to try Russians but not to bring U.S. or Israeli officials to justice.

On March 15, the Senate unanimously passed S. Res 546, which “encourages member states to petition the ICC or other appropriate international tribunal to take any appropriate steps to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian Armed Forces.”

When he introduced the resolution, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said, “This is a proper exercise of jurisdiction. This is what the court was created for.”

The United States has refused to join the ICC and consistently tries to undercut the court. Yet a unanimous U.S. Senate voted to utilize the ICC in the Ukraine conflict.

Since Feb. 24, when the Russian Federation launched an armed attack against Ukraine, horrific images of destruction have been ubiquitous. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has documented 3,455 civilian casualties, including 1,417 killed and 2,038 injured as of April 3.

Most of those casualties have been caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, which includes heavy artillery and multiple launch systems as well as air and missile strikes.

On Feb. 28, Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine. He said that his preliminary examination found a reasonable basis to believe that alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed in Ukraine. Khan’s formal investigation will “also encompass any new alleged crimes . . . that are committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine.”

As I explained in prior Truthout columns, in spite of U.S.-led NATO’s provocation of Russia over the past several years, the Russian invasion of Ukraine constitutes illegal aggression.

Nevertheless, the ICC does not have jurisdiction to prosecute Russian leaders for the crime of aggression.

Rome Statute Prohibits Aggression

In 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg called the waging of aggressive war “essentially an evil thing,” adding that, “to initiate a war of aggression . . . is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunal, called aggressive war “the greatest menace of our times.” Jackson said,

“If certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

Aggression is prohibited by the ICC’s Rome Statute. Article 8bis defines the crime of aggression as “the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Adopting the central prohibition of the U.N. Charter against the use of aggressive force, Article 8bis defines an act of aggression as “the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations.”

The charter only allows the use of military force in self-defense or with the consent of the Security Council, neither of which happened before Russia invaded Ukraine.

In order to secure a conviction for aggression, the prosecutor of the ICC must prove that a leader who exercised control over the military or political apparatus of a country ordered an armed attack against another country.

An armed attack can include bombing or attacking the armed forces of other country. The attack must be a “manifest” violation of the U.N. Charter in its character, scale and gravity, which includes only the most serious forms of the illegal use of force. For example, a single gunshot would not qualify but George W. Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq would.

But the ICC’s jurisdictional scheme for the crime of aggression is much more restrictive than its regime for punishing the other crimes under the Rome Statute — genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Press conference following the adoption of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, on July 17, 1998, in Rome. (UN Photo)

The original Rome Statute said that those three crimes could be prosecuted in the ICC if: (1) the defendant’s country was a party to the statute; (2) one or more elements of the crime was committed in the territory of a State Party; (3) the defendant’s country accepted ICC jurisdiction for the matter; or (4) upon referral by the U.N. Security Council. But the statute left the definition and jurisdictional scheme for prosecuting the crime of aggression to future negotiation.

In 2010, the final negotiations in Kampala, Uganda, added an amendment which is now Article 15bis(5) of the Rome Statute.

It is this article that prevents the ICC from taking jurisdiction over Russian leaders for the crime of aggression.

Opening of the ICC review conference in Kampala, Uganda, May 31, 2010. (Coalition for the ICC, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Most countries at the Kampala Review Conference thought they had agreed that States Parties were covered by the jurisdictional scheme unless they “opted out” under Article 15bis(4).

But in 2017, France, the U.K., and several other States reversed the presumption of Article 15bis(4). Under their new interpretation, States Parties were presumed to be “out” of the jurisdictional scheme unless they “opted in” by ratifying the amendment. In other words, the ICC would not have jurisdiction to prosecute nationals of States Parties that had not ratified the amendment.

If the crime of aggression was covered by the same jurisdictional regime as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, the ICC could prosecute Russian officials for aggression.

Although neither Russia nor Ukraine has ratified the Rome Statute, Ukraine accepted ICC jurisdiction under Article 12(3) of the statute. Russia would veto any Security Council referral of the matter to the ICC.

The prohibition on aggression is so basic that it is considered to be jus cogens, a preemptory norm of international law which can never be committed under any circumstances. There is no immunity defense or statute of limitations for a jus cogens norm.

The Security Council could convene a special tribunal to try the crime of aggression committed in Ukraine, but again, Russia would veto such a resolution.

Another option is for countries to prosecute Russian leaders for aggression in their domestic courts under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction. Some crimes are so heinous, they are considered to be crimes against the entire world.

US Shuns Jurisdiction

“Americans are rightfully horrified when they see civilians killed by Russian bombardment in Ukraine,” Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies wrote in the LA Progressive,

“but they are generally not quite so horrified, and more likely to accept official justifications, when they hear that civilians are killed by U.S. forces or American weapons in Iraq, Syria, Yemen or Gaza.” Benjamin and Davies attribute this to the complicity of the corporate media “by showing us corpses in Ukraine and the wails of their loved ones, but shielding us from equally disturbing images of people killed by U.S. or allied forces.”

The United States maintains a double standard when it comes to the ICC. The U.S. is not a party to the Rome Statute.

Although former President Bill Clinton signed the statute as he left office, he urged incoming President George W. Bush to refrain from sending it to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification. Whereas signing indicates an intent to ratify, a country becomes a State Party once it ratifies the treaty.

Bush went one step further and in an unprecedented move, his administration unsigned the Rome Statute.

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, Dec. 27, 2001. (U.S. National Archives)

Congress then passed the American Service-Members’ Protection Act (ASPA), which contains a clause called the “Hague Invasion Act.” It says that if a U.S. or allied national is detained by the ICC, the U.S. military can use armed force to extricate them.

But the Dodd Amendment, which is one provision of the ASPA, “specifically permits the United States to assist international efforts to bring to justice ‘foreign nationals’ who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity,” former Sen. Christopher Dodd and John Bellinger, former legal adviser for the National Security Council and State Department, wrote in The Washington Post.

Another provision says that the ASPA “would clearly allow the United States to share intelligence information about Russian offenses, to allow expert investigators and prosecutors to assist, and to provide law enforcement and diplomatic support to the Court,” Dodd and Bellinger added.

Although the U.S. is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, it participated in the negotiations on the crime of aggression. The United States has consistently tried to undermine the ICC. The Bush administration effectively blackmailed 100 countries that were States Parties by forcing them to sign bilateral immunity agreements in which they promised not to turn over U.S. persons to the ICC or the United States would withhold foreign aid from them.

In 2020, after the ICC launched an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by U.S. as well as Taliban leaders in Afghanistan, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on ICC officials but President Joe Biden reversed them.

Karim Khan in 2017.  Wikimedia Commons)

When Khan became chief prosecutor of the ICC, he narrowed the scope of the investigation in Afghanistan by limiting suspects to Taliban and ISIS leaders. He cited “the limited resources available to my Office relative to the scale and nature of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are being or have been committed in various parts of the world.”

Khan stated, “I have therefore decided to focus my Office’s investigations in Afghanistan on crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State — Khorasan Province (“IS-K”) and to deprioritise other aspects of this investigation.”

“This was clearly a political decision — there’s really no other way it can be interpreted,” human rights lawyer Jennifer Gibson told Al Jazeera.

The “Sally port” at the Bagram prison that held detainees before their transfer to cage cells. (Eliza Griswold, Wikimedia Commons)

Gibson’s human rights group Reprieve submitted representations for clients who alleged torture by the C.I.A. in the brutal Bagram prison, as well as relatives of civilians allegedly killed in U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan. “It gave the U.S. and their allies a get out of jail free card,” Gibson said.

The Biden administration continues to oppose the pending ICC investigation into Israeli war crimes in Gaza. It has expressed “serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel.”

Following a five-year preliminary examination, former ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda found a reasonable basis to mount an investigation of “the situation in Palestine.” She was “satisfied that (i) war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip . . . (ii) potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible; and (iii) there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

Bensouda initiated the preliminary examination six months after Israel’s 2014 “Operation Protective Edge,” when Israeli military forces killed 2,200 Palestinians, nearly one-quarter of them children and more than 80 percent civilians.

“So, the U.S. wants to help the International Criminal Court prosecute Russian war crimes while barring any possibility the ICC could probe U.S. (or Israeli) war crimes,” observed Reed Brody, a commissioner for the International Commission of Jurists, an international human rights nongovernmental organization.

U.S. hypocrisy is no more apparent than in the first “Whereas” clause of the Senate’s unanimous resolution condemning Russia. It says, “Whereas the United States of America is a beacon for the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights across the globe . . .”

One hundred members of the U.S. Senate affirmed that sentiment in spite of the U.S. wars of aggression in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the commission of U.S war crimes. If the senators truly believe that the ICC is dependable enough to prosecute Russian leaders, they should push Biden to send the Rome Statute to them for advice and consent to ratification. What’s good for the Russian goose should also be good for the U.S. gander.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and a member of the national advisory board of Veterans For Peace and the bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her books include Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues. She is co-host of “Law and Disorder” radio.

This article is from Truthout and reprinted with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

33 comments for “US Trashes ICC, But Wants It to Charge Russians

  1. Fabio
    April 26, 2022 at 04:44

    Dear Marjorie, justice is the same for everyone but some are more equal than others.

  2. Connie
    April 25, 2022 at 20:07

    Since when has the US EVER been a beacon of anything, certainly in the last 70 years, except tyranny and murder? If the US is a beacon of hope and democracy, then I’m the Queen, and my cats can fly.

  3. SteveK9
    April 24, 2022 at 13:37

    Double standards and all these corrupt institutions matter less every day. In Ukraine as elsewhere it is becoming a contest to strength. Hopefully we don’t end up with a nuclear war as the endpoint, but whining about the corruption of the ICC, etc. is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

  4. Humwawa
    April 23, 2022 at 16:41

    People have always known about the US’s hypocrisy and double standards without ever doing anything about it. However, I feel that with the outrageous lies of the Western war propaganda and the unbearable level of the US’s hypocrisy in wanting to use an international court against Russia, which it has itself undermined, we reach a watershed moment where the World will no longer accept Western lies. This could just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  5. robert e williamson jr
    April 23, 2022 at 15:01

    That sucking sound emanating from the “SWAMP”, is the sound of U.S. hegemony circling the drain!

    Just listen to the Turtle, Marjorie, Lindsey and especially from his compound in Texas where that is the sound 43 sucking hes breath through his teeth, while he ponders how bad it will hurt exiting through that tiny hole in the drain.

  6. Steve
    April 23, 2022 at 02:22

    I just listened to Lindsey Graham(video above), what a hypocrite, my jaw has not yet come off the floor! The ‘exceptional’ arrogance is unbelievable. I just wish the world could sanction the US and its puppets for the destruction metered out over the past 60 years.

    • Connie
      April 25, 2022 at 20:01

      You listened to Graham. You’re a braver soul than me. I won’t listen to it, because, I’ll break something, and my renter’s insurance won’t cover that kind of damage.

  7. lester
    April 23, 2022 at 00:44

    I believe that Malaysia held war crimes trials in connection with Bush II’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush II and various henchmen were found guilty, but the judgements could not be enforced.

    I have faint memories of Bertrand Russell et al. holding Vietnam War war crimes trials in Stockholm. No one was punished, of course.

    Personally, I have often thought that every president since 1950 deserved to hann as least as much as Japanese general Tojo, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It never happens, of course. They all get pensions and reverence from their parties. :-(

  8. John Zeigler
    April 22, 2022 at 12:41

    Unfortunately, those who win the wars write the history books in the aftermath, detractors notwithstanding. Ask Antony and Cleopatra how it worked out for them. The old formula still holds true–“We are offended–Our Cause is just–We go to war–We are victorious–Peace ensues.” Right. Pax Romana. And if you are buying that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Nothing is worth shedding blood over, let alone non-combatant blood, but WOW, aren’t all these whiz-bang war toys just too tempting to leave on the shelf and forget? Tribalism is the curse that keeps on giving, and Shakespeare got it right, dead on, in Romeo and Juliet–“All are punished.”

  9. GringoBob
    April 22, 2022 at 12:02

    The USA is quite inconsistent in its “foreign policies”. We are not a united nation; we are split into two large parties with differing world views. And each of these parties is a patchwork. Perhaps we should have named ourslves the DSA (Differing States of America).

      April 22, 2022 at 15:53

      Actually there is bi-partisan consensus on almost every foreign policy issue, such as the invasion of Iraq and policy towards Iran, Russia and China.

      • Rob Roy
        April 23, 2022 at 00:27

        Yes, there is just one big war and money party. Whose fault is this, that we find ourselves in this moment. It’s easy to blame the Democrats and Republicans running our government, but why don’t the public vote in good people? After all, there’s more of us than them. Do people realize that if the 100 million registered voters had voted and written in Tulsi Gabbard, we would have a good leader. Or Jill Stein. I gave up some time ago in the public being able to see what to do to get rid of these Yahoos who run the world. The end is coming, either by nuclear or climate. No one is going to stop it. The majority of the public can’t seem to unite enough to take out the criminals in the White House and the Congress. My heart goes out to the children and animals.

      • Realist
        April 23, 2022 at 14:35

        Yes, Gore Vidal was right. We have but one “War Party” with two right wings, called the Democrats and the Republicans. They are in total control and absolute agreement when it comes to who should rule this planet and how that rule must be ruthlessly effected at all costs. Orwell said “War is peace.” Vidal said “Perpetual war for perpetual peace.” Together these two epigrams encapsulate the essence of “Pax Americana.” They keep the planet subjugated with endless conflict, never giving any putative “enemy” time to catch its breath. The make sure even to keep domestic conflicts rolling at a slow boil so their authority can step in at any time.

      • robert e williamson jr
        April 25, 2022 at 17:03

        “According to Campbell. Lincoln said, “Judge Douglas cannot fool the people: you may fool people for a time; you can fool part of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

        article by Thomas F. Schwartz

        This bit of wisdom seems to be something that has out lived it’s intended usefulness, very unfortunately!

        Evil doers reach a point in their illness at which they can no longer differentiate between what is right and what is wrong, what ever the reasoning, I feel the Secrets they keep, their Source of power (e g leverage), with holding information, and the Methods they use, the lies as a tool (e g subversive behavior), to fool the unwary are their source of power wielding that serve to defend their methods. Quite the useful paradox for the predator.

        Now the formidable Competition China presents the these groups of overbearing thugs will force changes. No one in their right mind should ever believe the Chinese aren’t up to the challenge.

        These people involved in subverting governments, businesses and societies for fun and profit have reached a breaking point I firmly believe. I don’t see them as working to defend the U.S. other than to drain it of life.

        I also believe that inhabitant’s around the planet need to be on guard so when the evil doers abandon the US for gr$$ner pastures they aren’t next. Our government locks up lots of drug kingpins for life and that seems justified. Beware out there, when trouble comes courting don’t forget this truth.

        The Deep State can no longer fool enough of the people, enough of the time for their sources and methods to be effective, in the case of China the problem for them is much greater. China has never been in their current position, one of surging power in the worlds economy heading to exceed the US , they see the D.S. for what it is, they have their own Ball and don’t need the Deep State’s.

        Grumpa says “the Deep State cannot fool the Chinese.”

        Thanks CN

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    April 22, 2022 at 11:31

    What an odious nation!!! And how utterly pathetic all those people are who, blindly, continue to see the US as ‘the beacon on the hill’. A ‘hill’ strewn with corpses the result of nefarious actions all over the planet. And everyone apologizing for the US is just as guilty and has just as much blood on their hands.

  11. Eddie S
    April 22, 2022 at 10:34

    I’ve been constantly aggravated by what MC relates above — the jaw-droppingly staggering hypocrisy of the US leaders, their MSM supporters, and the majority of the US populace, as it relates to international law, war crimes, and the US’ role in this. It’s the same level of hypocrisy and chutzpah as the metaphor of the young man on-trial for killing his parents asking for sympathy from the court because he’s an orphan, only on an international scale with massive casualties, destruction, and suffering. The only way there’s any logic to this is IF you DISCARD the modern conception of law — whereby it’s supposed to ideally be impartially administered — and revert to an authoritarian legal model. After-all, few people realistically expect a king or dictator to abide by the same laws that he decrees for his subjects/countrymen, it’s often near-treason to voice that opinion. Of course that legal model was purportedly thrown out (in western Euro-culture) by things like the Magna Carta and US Constitution and UN Charter, so I guess we have to start ‘un-signing’ those documents also..?

  12. April 22, 2022 at 10:14

    “Whereas the United States of America is a beacon for the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights across the globe . . .”or so we say, which means we are either certifiable or first-class hypocrites and a menace to humanity.

  13. Barbara Mullin
    April 22, 2022 at 10:04

    Just hope the rest of the word recognizes the difference between the American people and Senator Lindsey Graham and the former Senator John McCain. Their message is we do what we want and you have to do what we say. What absolute hypocrisy and lack of any morals or ethics. Shameful. The ICC is offbase if it goes after Israel or Rumsfeld. Hilarious!!!!

    • William Todd
      April 25, 2022 at 10:47

      What, precisely, do you see as the difference between the American (presumably you mean the U.S.) people and Graham and McCain? We are, after all, completely responsible for electing such amoral leaders (let’s not overlook Obama just because he SOUNDS better) over and over over the decades and hence are responsible for their behavior (why give us a pass just because the vast majority of us are studiously oblivious?).

  14. John Puma
    April 22, 2022 at 09:48

    An actual news story would be one identifying an area, situation or issue in which the US did NOT operate under a cosmically hypocritical double standard.

  15. Steve
    April 22, 2022 at 07:40

    Until the plebs of the world question and investigate our ruling classes, chaos, greed and death will always be with us. We are nothing to them but specs of dust. As long as we conform to their lies and meekly keep our heads down and mouths shut this destruction, be it war, environmental degradation or just plain wealth control, ‘they’ will rule and we will live to work like drones.
    A change will come, hopefully in the right direction and before it is too late. The NWO must be led by those with integrity and honesty, and those that follow must uphold this change to keep a vision of peace for all no matter the colour, creed or nationality. Ideological? Yes, but what other route is there, oh yes that’s right, we can all blow ourselves to kingdom come or burn/ drown in a world where greed has won. mmm probably the most likely outcome, shame we’ll take all the innocents with us eh!

  16. Andrew Nichols
    April 22, 2022 at 07:33

    Meh? Another day, another example if US Exceptionalist nonsense. There is either no word for hypocrisy in the mangled American dialect of english or it’s become a virtue in US culture.

  17. mgr
    April 22, 2022 at 05:41

    I have mentioned before that if the standard of law is America (and NATO’s) behavior in the world since Vietnam to Kosovo to Iraq and more in between, then Russia’s actions in Ukraine are completely legal. After all, this is the practice of the “international rules based order” that has been consistently demonstrated by the “world’s leading democracy and advocate of rule of law,” America.

    Despite the contrived outrage, surely if the American public living in the “world’s leading democracy and upholder of the rule of law” cannot even hold themselves and their own country to account, they certainly cannot hold any other leader or country to account. Funny how “Do as I say, not as I do” has a way of coming back to bite you on the ass. The more the US insists on using its self-serving interpretation of the law to pummel others, the more its vacuous hypocrisy is revealed.

    Things must really be getting desperate for the neocon directed Biden admin. Biden’s dream of capping his long and banal career with the presidency has become, to quote Jeff Goldblum in “Jurassic Park,” “Now that’s a pile of shit…”

    • michael888
      April 22, 2022 at 19:16

      Putin handled Ukraine EXACTLY like Clinton handled Serbia to create his Balkans War. Clinton helped create Kosovo as a breakaway republic from Serbia. He recognized Kosovo as a novel independent nation, then responded to their calls for help with massive warfare under UN charter Article 51, “Collective self defense”.
      Putin swooped in after the Maidan Coup by Biden’s NAZIs, taking the Crimea (after accepting their petition and plebiscite to join Russia). He initially was uninterested in the breakaway states of Donetsk and Luhansk; they were critical in Electing Yanukovych (under UN supervision) and Putin was hoping these ethnic Russian Ukrainians would continue supporting Russia. However, after 7 years of attack by the Ukrainian army in which 14,000 were killed in the Donbas, over 80% in the breakaway republics (according to UN monitors), the Duma gave Putin the task or permission to defend the ethnic Russian Ukrainians. As with Clinton, Putin recognized both Donetsk and Luhansk as novel independent nations, then responded to their requests for military help which Putin provided under UN charter Article 51, “Collective self defense”.
      Putin very carefully followed Clinton’s precedent, and his War is just as legal (or illegal).

    • John Zeigler
      April 23, 2022 at 20:43

      King of all the shades in hell.

  18. Kalen
    April 22, 2022 at 00:46

    The very premise of ICC is deeply flawed. It should not be called international criminal court but US imperial kangaroo court as it denies basic foundational principle of any legitimate court namely absolute equality under the law. If some countries can escape jurisdiction by fiat while others are politically forced to accept it, no justice can be served only intimidation and revenge.

    Moreover claiming universal jurisdiction as for example US and Spain claim is nothing but imperial relic from times of Imperial dictate by Spanish and US empire that annulled any notion of sovereignty that UN supposedly stands for.

    ICC is a creature of western hypocrisy, meaningless puppet show that is aimed to cover up real war crimes of aggression that can be committed in more than one way, military way like severe, civilian targeting sanctions (Iraq) , warmongering and fueling conflicts, policies of ethnic or national vilification and hatred that are recognized by international law as acts of war and aggression. It is a crime against peace to supply weapons to Syrian terrorists and Ukrainian Nazis from Azov which is even prohibited by US law or in any way directly and clearly provoking other side to defend their own civilians like in was in Crimea where Kiev Nazi regime cut the only water and energy supplies and infrastructure to million of residents in after 2015 , or Cuban blockade and sanctions were examples of Supreme crime of aggression.

    In case of Donbas, is killing Ukrainian citizens of Russian ethnicity for eight years not a crime of aggression to be put in front of ICC? or even in Ukrainian courts as ATO was unconstitutional. But Ukrainian criminals were put above the law despite the fact that they recognized ICC jurisdiction.

    Unjust court is not a court it is a cheap substitute for raw violence committed by powerful against weak.

    • mgr
      April 22, 2022 at 12:50

      Kalen: Very well put.

    • Tobysgirl
      April 22, 2022 at 16:12

      Thank you for this. A court which exists to try Africans and non-Westerners is a joke and just another example of Western hubris. When I see some Englishmen and Americans in the dock, then I might think the ICC has some credibility.

  19. Carolyn Zaremba
    April 21, 2022 at 23:34

    It has been demonstrated that the worst war crimes have been committed by the Ukrainian forces, including the Nazi Azov Battalion. They have murdered mayors of towns. They have killed anyone they accuse of being collaborators, just for accepting food packages from the Russian soldiers. The Ukrainians have forbidden civilians from leaving. As for self defense, Russia is acting in self defense against both the Nazis and NATO.

    • Riva Enteen
      April 22, 2022 at 12:03

      “As I explained in prior Truthout columns, in spite of U.S.-led NATO’s provocation of Russia over the past several years, the Russian invasion of Ukraine constitutes illegal aggression.” It is not just US/NATO provocation, but the killing of 14,000 Donbas civilians in the 8 years since the Maidan coup. If the UN could be liable for criminal neglect, this would be such a case. The UN still can’t even enforce the humanitarian corridors for civilians to flee to safety. It is time to expose the UN for what it is, an imperialist tool of the US, which is unwilling to confront the Nazis of Ukraine. Shame on them.

      • Tobysgirl
        April 22, 2022 at 16:15

        I believe Scott Ritter does not agree with the author. As Ukraine (U.S. proxy) was preparing an enormous assault against eastern Ukraine — which is why there are so many Ukrainian troops in the east — Russia had every right to come to the aid of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. Also, I read this morning that the sinking of the Russian warship was directed by the U.S. What cheats and liars we are! willing to destroy a country to serve our own stinking hegemony.

    • Realist
      April 23, 2022 at 14:18

      THANK YOU … for having the patience and tenacity to keep repeating the truth, sometimes quite appropriately screaming the truth, in no uncertain terms to all the lemmings in our American society who would probably gladly kill for the Nazis presently running this country, just as those indoctrinated and cowed Ukies do when they are so ordered. I note and salute your persistent efforts on the Caitlin Johnstone blog as well as here. Too many forget or are unaware of all the mayors and innocent human shields being publicly tortured and murdered by the Ukie Nazis, assuming that this barbarism is perfectly okay–it’s actually our patriotic duty to uphold–because it is supported by the American government, which itself should be tried for war crimes–as if the utter destruction of multiple other societies are not crimes? And for the mere purpose of upholding America’s hegemony, its “right” to boss anyone and everyone around at its whim? Any other country that would put its ass on the line to buck that crap deserves the support of the entire world!

      Yes, Washington is desperate because it is going down, sooner or later, by virtue of its own bad choices, which it only compounds by repeatedly imposing mass murder, ultraviolence and rampant chaos into the equation. It cannot even govern itself internally without great angst, turmoil and hatred of neighbors by neighbors. America is no beacon onto the world, it has been a blight on this planet, founded in genocide and reckless despoilment of the environment which was euphemistically called “civilisation” and “development.” Not just I, but all the dead bodies left scattered about this unhappy place say so. So, keep up your fighting words, Carolyn. It wears me out having to deliver the same message again and again to little or no effect.

  20. Em
    April 21, 2022 at 21:51

    The most astonishing thing is that the vast majority of the American populace has taken so many years just to begin to awaken to the fact that the U.S. government has been operating, especially in its foreign relations, up until this point in time, solely on unprincipled double standards.

    Isn’t this, in fact, what seeing itself as the exceptional nation – entitled to regard itself as the unique hegemon is all about?

    All bigots in the human family – without exception, throughout history, have been – “proponents (who) argue that (their) values, political system, and historical development of (their realm) are unique in human history, often with the implication that (their) country is both destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage.”: – Wikipedia

    In this delusion of grandeur, we can be assured that the U.S. is NO exception. All Empires eventually have imploded in on themselves bringing down their false temples of ‘notional’ superiority.

    Humanity still populates planet Earth today, only because in all previous failed states there were no nuclear weapons.

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