Daily archives: May 19, 2011

Victor’s Justice

I strongly support the rule of law in international affairs, and it follows that I strongly support international institutions – and particularly the International Criminal Court. I am quite content that a case has been opened against the Gadaffi family there.

But the ICC has become, beyond argument, extraordinarily selective in its choice of which war crimes to prosecute. As I write, a veritable campaign of torture and killing against the Bahraini opposition, including the murder of well known opposition leaders, is continuing and being carried out by the rulers with the assistance of foreign forces. Yet there is no chance of the slightest interest by the ICC. They refused point blank to look into the question of whether Bush and Blair launched an illegal war of aggression, despite the fact that majority opinion among public international lawyers worldwide is that they did. The evidence from the Chilcot enquiry in the UK alone is sufficient to justify a prosecution. A former Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK believes there should be one. The FCO’s Legal Adviser and Deputy Legal Adviser at the time both said in writing that the invasion would be an illegal war of aggression.

The only possible conclusion from ICC case law is that a war of aggression can only be illegal if you lose.

The institution has become an instrument of very partial justice. In Libya, they have been drawn into initiating the victor’s justice before they have actually won. As I predicted, the military attack on Libya is proving vastly more difficult than NATO expected (will they never learn?) The ICC is looking not just corrupt, but foolish.

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