The International Criminal Court: Why We Need It, How We Got It, Our Concern About It: Fairchild Paper EdD Donald A. MacCuish Author
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The author has been following the establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) as called for in the Treaty of Rome since first teaching an elective, Morality and War: Implications for the War Fighter, at the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) in January 2000. Almost from the beginning, his thoughts harkened back to what he believed Winston Churchill was warning us about the future - his words were something like, Be ever mindful of the ghost of Nuremberg coming back to haunt us. This notion haunts us today. According to author Bradley Smith, it was at America's insistence that the victorious Allies conducted the trials at Nuremberg and in the Pacific as well. Stalin, who realized the value of show courts, was enthusiastic. Churchill was less so, fearing the implications, and Charles de Gaulle, well de Gaulle was de Gaulle. The Germans never accepted the results as legitimate. Since the conclusion of those trials over 50 years ago, the United States has been at the forefront, leading the fight for a permanent criminal tribunal, only to end up opposed to one when the details were penned to paper. The Plenipotentiaries convened in Rome from 15 June until 17 July 1998 to negotiate and draft what became the Treaty of Rome, establishing the permanent ICC. The participants included 160 states, 33 intergovernmental organizations, and 236 nongovernmental organizations. When all was said and done, there were 120 states voting in favor of the treaty, seven against it, and 21 abstentions. There is no record about the 22 other states in attendance. Interestingly, the United States, which had been pushing for a permanent court, and which was instrumental in establishing the Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, voted against the treaty. However, America's allies-the French, British, and Russians-voted for the treaty on the last day of the conference. One of Pres. William Bill Clinton's final official acts before leaving office was to sign the Treaty of Rome on behalf of the United States. But affixing his signature to the treaty only tended to add fuel to those who criticized his administration. However, in this instance, he did the right thing because if he had not signed the treaty, the United States would not have been allowed to participate in the rest of the formulation process-the details, if you will, of how the court functions. On 6 May 2002, Pres. George W. Bush announced that the United States withdrew its signatory status to the Treaty of Rome. Maj Steven D. Dubriske's paper explains the nuances of the treaty quite well. This paper won the 2003 ACSC Commandant's Award for Research Excellence. For quite some time now, Lt Col Tomislav Ruby and the author have had some serious reservations about the ICC. As noted early on that many of the legal rights, we, as Americans, enjoy would be swept away by the court. For example, once selected, the prosecutor is not accountable to anyone. Also, if a defendant is found not guilty, the prosecutor can appeal the not guilty verdict. Finally, even though the defendant's country has the right of first refusal, if the prosecutor does not like the verdict, he or she can haul the person before the ICC under the guise that the national court proceedings were a dodge. We were further concerned because we thought it not only possible, but quite likely, that an American would be brought before the court for political reasons. Although, later withdrawn, a complaint to try Gen Tommy Franks before a Belgian court for war crimes in Iraq was filed. Even so, the incident does, in my opinion, validate our concerns. In the future, if a similar complaint were filed with the ICC would it also be withdrawn? Two essays constitute the first two in this anthology. Maj David Hater's approach was to look at the history of war crimes that led up to the Treaty of Rome. Major Dubriske discusses the specifics of the treaty as it stands today.


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