U.S. Supports International Criminal Court for First Time
Thursday, March 03, 2011
In supporting a United Nations resolution imposing sanctions against Libya for Muammar al-Gadaffi’s crackdown on his own citizens, the U.S. has endorsed the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the first time.
Until now, the U.S. has ignored the ICC as a legitimate judicial body since it was established in 2002. The endorsement of the UN resolution, however, only came about because American officials included a provision that protects U.S. citizens from investigation or prosecution by the court as a result of any actions that may occur in Libya. U.S. officials are apparently anticipating the possible creation of a no-fly zone that would require American pilots to patrol Libyan airspace to prevent Gaddafi from bombing his own people. Similar UN-approved no-fly zones were enforced in Iraq by the U.S., the United Kingdom and France between 1991 and 2003.
In the case of Libya, the Obama administration wants to make sure that no Americans would be prosecuted if they killed Libyan civilians.
The U.S. remains an official non-party to the ICC, which was established as a way to bring perpetrators of heinous crimes to justice. But it can prosecute people only when countries are unwilling or unable to try individuals for war crimes or acts of genocide.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
US Supports War Crimes Tribunal for First Time (by Edith Lederer, Associated Press)
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