The International Criminal Court: Now Simply Indefensible 303

Support for the rule of international law, and for the institutions which uphold it, is one of the principles of this blog. I have therefore always been extremely keen to defend and support the International Criminal Court, despite widespread criticism that it is simply a tool for use against leaders in the developing world and other opponents of the neo-con world order. I maintained that the standard of justice and investigation in the cases it did consider was generally good, and the need was to widen its ambit.

Unfortunately, the decision of the ICC to close down its investigation into War Crimes committed by the British in Iraq is the last straw for me in continuing to harbour any hope that the ICC will ever be anything more than an instrument of victors’ justice. I have read the entire 184 page report which closes down the investigation, and it is truly shocking. It is shocking in the outlining of British war crimes, but what really shocked me is the truly appalling picture that clearly emerges of the attitudes of the International Criminal Court.

I am afraid this article is rather heavy going, and requires you to read some rather lengthy sections of the report to show what I mean. Nothing is so damning of the ICC as the words of their own report, so I do not apologise for this approach. I would say that what I found really did shock me and has completely changed my mind about the value of the International Criminal Court as an institution. As I flatter myself I have a reasonably good grasp of such matters, I am proceeding on the assumption that what was startling to me will probably be startling to you, and you will find this worth reading.

The launching of the Iraq War was itself the most serious single war crime of this century to date, and the ICC had previously ducked it by arguing that the Statute of Rome which founded the Court did not at the time of the war include illegal war of aggression among its list of war crimes. I argued then and I argue now that this did not remove that crime from its jurisdiction. The crime of illegal war of aggression was already firmly a part of customary international law and the very foundation of Nuremberg, so the ICC did not need specific mention in the Treaty of Rome to be able to prosecute it.

The current ICC report on British war crimes in Iraq however simply blandly reiterates the line (para 35):

Finally, although a number of communication senders have also made allegations relating to decision of the UK authorities to launch the armed conflict, the Office takes no position on legality of war given the non-applicability of the crime of aggression at the material time.

It was perhaps always Utopian to imagine that Blair, Straw, Campbell, Scarlett, Dearlove etc would pay for their crimes. But it did seem very probable that the ICC would prosecute at least some of those directly responsible for committing war crimes on the ground. Alas, the ICC has now produced 184 pages of mealy-mouthed sophistry and responsibility-dodging to justify why there will be no further investigation, let alone prosecutions. I have read the full report and frankly it makes me feel sick. But I shall still try to elucidate it for you.

This ICC report does give an account of the origin of the Iraq War, and it is astonishing. At para 36 it states the UK/US case for the invasion as historical truth, as though that were the simple and uncontested fact of the matter.

36. After the January 1991 Gulf War, the Security Council adopted a resolution setting out ceasefire terms, including ending production of weapons of mass destruction and permitting inspection teams on the territory of Iraq. In September 2002, the US and UK argued that Iraq was in material breach of the relevant resolutions and was seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction. UN weapons inspectors stated they had not found any “smoking gun” in their search for weapons of mass destruction, but noted that this was “no guarantee that prohibited stocks or activities could not exist at other sites, whether above ground, underground or in mobile units”. The US gathered a coalition of 48 countries, including the UK, for the stated purpose of searching and destroying alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

That is it. That is the ICC’s entire account of the origin of the Iraq War. The notion that Security Council Resolution 699 of 1991 authorised the 2002 invasion – a position never endorsed by the Security Council – appears to be taken as read despite being the most hotly disputed question in international law of all time. The selectivity of the cherry-picked quote from the weapons inspectors is an audacious bit of sophistry given it is taken from a report in which the weapons inspectors detailed they found no evidence of WMD, that cooperation from the Iraqi authorities was improving, and asked for more time and resources to complete their work. Even more flabbergasting, this ICC report paragraph gives as a supporting footnote the infamous UK government “dodgy dossier” on Iraqi WMD, a totally discredited document, without any indication there is any problem with it.

The truth is, that the paragraph in the report by the ICC prosecutor on the origin of the war is precisely as the UK would draft it, and in its unmoderated presentation of extremely contentious positions and its remarkable selectivity as to what facts are presented, it is entirely tendentious. I suspect that not only could it have been drafted by the UK government, it is very likely it was so drafted. I cannot think of anyone else, not even the current US government at time of writing, who would consider that paragraph a fair or reasonable explanation of the origins of the Iraq war.

This criticism applies to the entire document. It is written entirely in the preferred language of the invaders. For example, Iraqis resisting the foreign occupation are referred to as “insurgents” throughout the document. We first see this in para 43, in the statement that the British forces in Basra faced “an increasingly violent insurgency”. Oh, those poor innocent British forces, sitting at home in Basra, facing invasion from “insurgents” who had surged in from… from… err, Basra. The idea that the invaders were the respectable power and the locals were “insurgents” may be the language of the British MOD and may be adopted by the Daily Mail, but it should not be the language of the International Criminal Court. Here again, the prosecutor simply accepts the entire British framing of the narrative. Insurgents are referred to throughout.

Not only is the entire report written in the British voice, it entirely omits the Iraqi voice. The Prosecutor has written a report on British war crimes against Iraqis. The Prosecutor accepts there is credible evidence that hundreds of such war crimes were committed. Yet nowhere is there one single direct quote from an Iraqi victim. Not one. In the hundreds of references, The Prosecutor has based the entire report on whether to prosecute Brits for crimes against Iraqis, solely on interviews with Brits in official positions.

Everything is seen through the British military lens. To give another small illustration of this point, a skirmish at Majar-al-Kabir, following which captives were grossly mistreated, is referred to as “The Battle of Danny Boy”, which it is called by nobody except the British army. The ICC should not be calling a site in Iraq by the name the British army gave their checkpoint there, nor representing a skirmish involving 100 people as a “battle” because the British army does. “The Battle of Danny Boy” is a good illustration of the way that this report is written entirely through the British military gaze using British, not Iraqi, terms.

This next fact alone sufficiently illustrates my point, and entirely damns both this report and the International Criminal Court. Of the 776 footnotes, not a single one references a document in Arabic or in translation from Arabic. Not one. The vast majority of references are to official British documents. On the rare occasions when Iraqis are mentioned in the report, it is frequently to impugn their reliability as witnesses. The Iraqi individual most discussed – still briefly – is not a victim but a lawyer engaged in collecting testimonies. The Iraqi voice has gone unheard in this ICC decision. The victims are unconsidered.

You will search in vain for the Iraqi voice even where it could easily be found, in the witness statements of Iraqis to the British courts the report so freely quotes. But no, where Iraqi experience is recounted at all it is thoroughly mediated by British judges or other authorities.

Yet remarkably the report accepts that British forces were responsible for war crimes on a substantial scale. The report was written by a team, and plainly the team that was setting out the facts on the ground held rather different views from the politically influenced bosses who were writing the conclusions. The report notes:

70. The UK deposited its instrument of ratification to the Rome Statute on 4 October 2001. The ICC therefore may exercise its jurisdiction, from 1 July 2002 onwards, over alleged acts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed either on UK territory or by UK nationals on the territory of other States.
71. As set out more fully below, on the basis of the information available, there is a reasonable basis to believe that, at a minimum, the following war crimes have been committed by members of UK armed forces:
wilful killing/murder under article 8(2)(a)(i)) or article 8(2)(c)(i));
torture and inhuman/cruel treatment under article 8(2)(a)(ii) or article 8(2)(c)(i));
outrages upon personal dignity under article 8(2)(b)(xxi) or article 8(2)(c)(ii));
rape and/or other forms of sexual violence under article 8(2)(b)(xxii) or article 8(2)(e)(vi)).

Then again:

113. The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that in the period from April 2003 through September 2003 members of UK armed forces in Iraq committed the war crime of wilful killing/murder pursuant to article 8(2)(a)(i) or article 8(2)(c)(i)), at a minimum, against seven persons in their custody. The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that in the period from 20 March 2003 through 28 July 2009 members of UK armed forces committed the war crime of torture and inhuman/cruel treatment (article 8(2)(a)(ii) or article 8(2)(c)(i)); and the war crime of outrages upon personal dignity (article 8(2)(b)(xxi) or article 8(2)(c)(ii)) against at least 54 persons in their custody. The information available further provides a reasonable basis to believe that members of UK armed forces committed the war crime of other forms of sexual violence, at a minimum, against the seven victims as well as the war crime of rape against one of those seven victims while they were detained at Camp Breadbasket in May 2003. Where such detainee abuse occurred, this typically arose in the early stages of the internment process, such as upon capture, initial internment and during ‘tactical questioning’.
114. As noted above, the findings set out above are a sample pool of incidents which, while not reflecting the full scale of the alleged crimes relevant to the situation, were sufficiently well supported to meet the reasonable basis standard and allow the Office to reach a determination on subject-matter jurisdiction.

Later the following aggravating factor is considered:

140. The manner in which these crimes are alleged to have been committed also appears to have been particularly cruel, prolonged and severe. Notably, in five cases of deaths in custody, the victims were allegedly tortured – or at least severely and repeatedly assaulted – by UK personnel who detained them prior to their death. In the killing of Baha Mousa in September 2003, the victim was hooded for almost 24 hours during his 36 hours of custody and suffered at least 93 injuries prior to his death.

It is important to note that this appalling catalogue of crimes, where there was a reasonable prima facie case to proceed, represented only a very small sample of the thousands reported to the International Criminal Court. But even this small sample convinced the prosecutor that there was good enough evidence for the investigation to go forward.

So why did it not proceed? The Prosecutor decided to drop the case on the principle of “Complementarity”. This means that the ICC cannot prosecute if the government concerned – the UK government in this case – is itself genuinely investigating or prosecuting. The prosecutor based the decision not to proceed on these provisions of the Statute of Rome:

But none of the catalogue of crimes for which there is good evidence, examined by the ICC, had resulted in prosecution. In fact the report detailed that not a single prosecution had resulted from the work of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) in the MOD, although they had investigated scores of cases which the IHAT itself – consisting of former military and retired policemen – considered viable. In every single case, the proposal for a prosecution had been knocked back by the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA).

In fact the ICC only references two cases in which there were convictions for war crimes, and in both cases the conviction was purely because somebody immediately admitted the truth and confessed at the initial investigation stage. The maximum sentence given out was just one year in prison. The report’s account of how one of these convictions from confession came to fruition is extremely revealing:

91. Several notable features stand out from the Camp Breadbasket court martial. First, although multiple military personnel knew about the alleged abuses (including the alleged sexual crimes), each failed in their duty to report them. The conduct only came to light when one of the soldiers involved in taking trophy photographs had the photographs developed in a civilian shop and the shop assistant reported the conduct to civilian police, who made an arrest. Second, during his testimony, when asked why he had not reported alleged criminal conduct at Camp Breadbasket, Corporal Kenyon asserted that, “there was no point in passing anything up the chain of command, because it was the chain of command who was, in my eyes, doing a wrongdoing to the Iraqis to start off with, and they were passing Iraqis down to us, for us to do the same things basically”.

The key fact here is that the MOD’s processes and investigations had nothing whatsoever to do with the conviction. It came about because of the chance of a civilian seeing the photo and bringing in the civilian police, who had plain and undeniable photographic evidence of torture and sexual abuse. Otherwise this would have been entirely covered up by the MOD, exactly like all the other thousands of cases bar one other (in which somebody wracked by conscience insisted on confessing). For the ICC to quote the Camp Breadbasket conviction as evidence the UK investigation processes are working is tendentious. It was very obviously a fluke; I cannot think of a better example of an exception that merely proves the rule.

The International Criminal Court’s decision that there are no grounds to continue investigation, on the grounds the UK’s own procedures are adequate, becomes truly incredible – in the real meaning of the word, utterly lacking in credibility – when you read this passage of the report. It really is worth reading:

380. The Office has pursued a number of lines of inquiry to independently ascertain the veracity of the BBC/Times allegations with a view ultimately to speak with the primary sources of the allegations and other persons directly involved or with knowledge of facts related to the events. Overwhelmingly, those former IHAT staff the Office spoke to indicated that they had concerns about the outcome of IHAT’s investigations. Most considered that the investigative teams did a thorough job, but when it came time for the investigations to progress to prosecutions, there was something obstructing this. The former IHAT investigators were unable to specify what this obstruction was, given their limited access to decision-making, but insisted that such obstruction came at levels higher up within IHAT or the SPA (Services Prosecuting Authority).
381. Several former IHAT investigators reported their frustration at the outcome of inquiries into systemic issues submitted for internal IHAT/IHAPT review, whether in terms of recommendation for further investigative steps or referrals for prosecution, in view of their concern that cases involving superior responsibility were prematurely terminated or that there was leadership pressure within IHAT/IHAPT not to pursue them.
382. Several former IHAT staff were of the view that IHAT’s independence and impartiality was undermined by its relationship with the army and MoD, including: its physical location on a British Army base; IHAT’s use of MoD resources and systems; and requirements that IHAT staff go through the RNP or MoD personnel for certain functions (such as securing custody and travel).
383. Multiple former IHAT staff described difficulties in accessing evidence in the possession of the RMP or the MoD. They described how some RMP and MoD personnel obstructed access to files, in their view unjustifiably; did not permit IHAT staff to locate documents they had been vetted to inspect; and imposed restrictions on access; or were repeatedly told that they had been given all of the relevant material pertaining to a certain matter, only to later discover that they had not. The former IHAT staff described how some storage boxes had been mislabelled, obscuring the discovery of relevant evidence, and their view that the RMP only gave IHAT a fraction of the relevant material they possessed.
384. The former IHAT staff the Office spoke to also conveyed the difficulties the teams encountered in attempting to interview witnesses and suspects and to conduct other investigative steps. They described multiple occasions on which their requests to interview important witnesses were blocked for either unexplained reasons or for administrative ones, such as ‘expenses not allowing’. They described how witness interviews were hampered by IHAT refusing to reimburse witnesses for travel, travel details being changed at the last minute and in one case a potential witness being arrested before meeting with investigators. Some had the impression that IHAT management were trying to put obstacles in their way. Multiple former IHAT staff relayed their impression that there was no will on the part of IHAT management to allow proper investigations which would result in prosecution.
385. Concern was also expressed over the SPA’s involvement in the termination of cases. Several former IHAT staff that the Office spoke to felt that the SPA, as part of the MoD, was not truly independent or impartial respecting the armed forces. Multiple individuals with extensive civilian criminal investigations experience described how the investigation teams built cases which they considered were evidentially strong and ready to proceed, but the SPA refused to lay charges. With respect to certain alleged killing incidents, the view was conveyed that evidence supporting charges of manslaughter or murder, which would have proceeded in a domestic civilian police inquiry, were discontinued by the SPA.

Read that, and then consider that the conclusion of the International Criminal Court report is that their investigation must be dropped as there is no evidence that the UK is not diligently pursuing prosecutions.

The ICC then details a dozen paragraphs of what I would characterise as bland managerial reassurances from the MOD that these concerns are unwarranted, a result of the limited understanding of junior staff, and decisions not to prosecute have always been taken on the advice of external counsel. You are welcome to read that section of the report starting at para 386. The ICC accepts these reassurances and the British Government view as genuine without question, never for example considering that the MOD might have external counsel of notable militarist views and disinterest in human rights. The fact that external counsel is involved in the decisions not to prosecute is taken by the ICC as substantial guarantee that the procedure is genuine.

After the IHAT was closed down its workload was transferred to the smaller Service Policy Legacy Investigations Team, which immediately closed down 1213 out of the 1283 cases it inherited. That this indicates that a genuine process is underway is apparent to the ICC, but not to me. The report also notes something remarkable about the IHAT’s approach in that it categorised cases into three tiers, of which only the first tier was actively pursued. The second tier were cases considered less serious so it was not “proportionate” for them to be pursued. But consider what was in the second tier. This is from para 355 of the report:

Tier 2 allegations are those that may meet the investigative threshold of the SPLI but are dependent upon a further review. They are cases of moderate severity and ill-treatment where no life changing injuries or significant psychological harm has been sustained. Examples of Tier 2 cases could include, but are not limited to, GBH type offences that are not of a life changing nature; e.g. broken bones and or fractures. Tier 2 allegations could also include lower level sexual allegations e.g. intimate searches, and other treatment of a serious nature i.e. mock execution, nonfatal shootings and electrocution.

But as the report notes, this almost all meets the definition of torture: GBH inflicting broken bones and “non-fatal shooting”, as well as “lower level” sexual abuse is pretty serious stuff. If somebody shot you in the knee while holding you captive, would you think it “proportionate” for them to be prosecuted? The MOD would not – subject to an unspecified future review.

The question of the work of the IHAT being frustrated by senior management is one of those instances where the content of the report is at such variance with its conclusions, it is pretty clear that these were not written by the same people. In fact, the report returns to the concerns of IHAT staff again, plainly giving real weight to something earlier paragraphs had already dismissed:

408. The Office spoke with a number of former staff of IHAT who held different levels and functions. This sample of individuals was to some extent self-selected (being persons who were willing to speak to the Office). Accordingly, there may be limits to the representativeness of their experiences as compared with that of former IHAT staff as a whole. The Office nonetheless notes that the views of these individuals were on the whole balanced, as evidenced through their advancement of both praise and critique for various aspects of IHAT’s work. The Office also accepts that these individuals were not natural ‘whistle-blowers’. As former law enforcement personnel bound by confidentiality undertakings with their former employer and liable for penal sanction for potentially breaching protections on classified information, they may have been naturally reticent to speak with the ICC, which also reduces their likelihood of having made frivolous or malicious allegations. On the whole, the information received by the Office corresponds to the reports made in the BBC Panorama programme and in the Sunday Times.
409. The Office views with concern the fact that professional IHAT investigators – drawn from experienced retired officers of civilian police forces or serving Royal Navy Police personnel – would have made allegations of a cover-up or expressed concerns over the fate of the IHAT investigations that they worked on.

The schizophrenic report attempts to reconcile this by constantly referencing only para 2 (a) of the admissibility criteria, and claiming that neither the lack of prosecutions nor the allegations of IHAT staff give conclusive evidence that criminals are being deliberately shielded from prosecution. The report claims on the basis of previous court decisions that for a case to be admissible, “shielding” by the state must be proven to the standard of criminal proof. I am not sufficiently expert in the court’s previous judgements to know if that is true. But on the face of it, it is an extremely curious view of the admissibility criteria, read as a whole. Even apart from that, the evidence of shielding of soldiers by the MOD appears to be fairly compelling; certainly enough to justify further investigation.

The detail of the report gives ample evidence, much of it from UK courts, that cases are not being adequately investigated, that prosecutions are not being properly pursued, and that the military are conspiring – “Closing ranks” as more than one senior judge has put it – to cover up crimes, and getting away with it.

Para 213
The commanding officer referred Baha Mousa’s death for investigation by the RMP’s SIB, which was concluded in early April 2004 and resulted in the court martial of seven soldiers of the QLR. The court convicted Corporal Donald Payne of inhuman treatment but acquitted him of manslaughter and perverting the course of justice. He was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment. Payne appears to have been the first British soldier ever to be convicted in the UK of a war crime. In the case of five other defendants, the Judge Advocate ruled that there was no case to answer due to lack of evidence, while two further accused were cleared by the jury of negligently performing the duty of ensuring that detainees were not ill-treated by men under their command.331 Justice MacKinnon, who presided over the court martial, acknowledged that despite his finding that Baha Mousa’s injuries were the result of numerous assaults over 36 hours “none of those soldiers have been charged with any offence simply because there is no evidence against them as a result of a more or less obvious closing of ranks”.

A similar example:

217. Naheem Abdullah died from a blow or blows to the left side of his head inflicted by one or more soldiers of a section of the 3rd Batallion of the Parachute Regiment while in their custody in Maysan Province on 11 May 2003.346 Naheem Abdullah’s death was investigated by the RMP’s SIB in 2003 and seven soldiers were charged with murder. At a court martial on 3 November 2005, the Judge Advocate found that the evidence did not permit a conclusion to be drawn on the individual responsibility of each defendant. The Judge Advocate criticised the RMP’s SIB investigation as “inadequate” with “serious omissions” by investigators in not searching for records of hospital admissions or registers of burials.
218. During the Ali Zaki Mousa litigation, the UK High Court noted its concern that IHAT had not taken the case forward despite the court martial finding that the death was a result of an assault by the section to which the soldiers belonged.
219. On 27 March 2014, the Secretary of State for Defence announced that an IFI investigation into Naheem Abdullah’s death had been commissioned in order to comply with the High Court’s decision in Ali Zaki Mousa (No. 2) but that “no prosecutions will result”. The IFI made “exhaustive inquiries about the whereabouts of the transcript of the court martial” but concluded it had probably “been destroyed or thrown away”. It further noted that the soldiers had not given oral evidence, been examined or cross-examined and found that the “need for them to give oral evidence” was a “critical aim” of the IFI inquiry.

In what universe is this not an unwillingness or inability of the UK authorities genuinely to prosecute? If this were a stabbing by a group of civilian youths, they would all be banged up under the doctrine of “common purpose”. The difficulties of prosecuting criminals who stick together are by no means the sole preserve of the armed forces, and the days when nobody could be convicted because of the problem of proving which gang member struck the fatal blow are long gone in civilian life.

The sole difficulty here is the prosecutors’ and investigators’ unwillingness to use the toolbox regularly used against gangs or organised crime, against self-protecting groups of soldier war criminals. The criminals are indeed being shielded.

Para 228 further shows the MOD’s failure in this regard is systemic:

As IHAT/SPA set out to the Office: 7 defendants were prosecuted during a six month court martial, with the case against all but 2 being dismissed by the judge at the conclusion of the prosecution case. The reasons for this outcome are complex but relate to the quality of the evidence given by the British soldiers who were called as witnesses by the prosecution. While the defence did not dispute that the detainees in this case had been subjected to serious mistreatment, including acts of violence, during their detention at “BG Main”, the detainees themselves were unable to identify which individual soldiers had been responsible for which aspects of their mistreatment or for which assault. This was primarily because the detainees had been hooded for most of the relevant time. Several of the soldiers who were called as witnesses by the prosecution proved reluctant to provide evidence against those with whom they still served, leading to what the Judge Advocate, a senior judge from the civilian system who had been brought in to try this case, described as a “more or less obvious closing of ranks”. The 2 defendants against whom the case was not dismissed at the conclusion of the prosecution case were subsequently acquitted by the Military Board after consideration of all of the evidence.

Finally, one last paragraph to illustrate that the conclusion of the report is completely incompatible with its internal evidence:

250. The Baha Mousa Inquiry report, published on 8 September 2011, made findings on the death of Baha Mousa in British custody in Basra after several days of abuse in September 2003. Five years prior to the report, seven suspects had been subject to the pre-IHAT procedure described above, which resulted in six acquittals at a court martial and one conviction for the war crime of inhuman treatment (following a guilty plea). The report found that British soldiers had subjected detainees to serious, gratuitous violence and that although doctrinal shortcomings may have contributed to the use of a process of unlawful conditioning, it could not “excuse or mitigate the kicking, punching and beating of Baha Mousa which was a direct and proximate cause of his death, or the treatment meted out to his fellow Detainees”.414 The findings did not inspire new prosecutions. On 8 June 2017, during a hearing to review the progress of IHAT investigations, Justice Leggatt noted that it was “difficult to understand why almost six years after a major public inquiry was finished in 2011 there has been no resolution of the question whether to prosecute anybody in relation to Baha Mousa.”

Yet the International Criminal Court claims not to have sufficient evidence that the UK government is not genuinely pursuing prosecutions: and remarkably states that even the passing now of legislation specifically to give an amnesty to soldiers for historic war crimes, does not radically affect its judgement as to the MOD’s practice and intent.

This report is a nonsense. It is based on adopting the UK MOD gaze throughout, and accepting that everything statted by UK official sources is true and given in good faith, which is never even questioned. The failure even to entertain the notion that the UK is acting in bad faith renders the report utterly pointless. Never can a report have been written on any subject where the internal evidence was so utterly incompatible with the conclusion. The report is the responsibility of prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. I find her motives as baffling as her conclusions.

What is however plain is that I can no longer argue that the ICC is an impartial body. Its protection of the UK not only over the initiation of the Iraq War, but even over the many crimes committed by its working level soldiers, let alone those who commanded them, stands in such stark contrast to the ICC’s treatment of those viewed as the designated enemies of the Western powers, that it has lost all moral authority.

I leave you with Ms Bensouda’s conclusions:

502. The Office recalls that, based on its evaluation of the totality of the information available, it cannot conclude that the UK authorities have been unwilling genuinely to carry out relevant investigative inquiries and/or prosecutions (article 17(1)(a)) or that decisions not to prosecute in specific cases resulted from unwillingness genuinely to prosecute (article 17(1)(b)). Specifically, for the purpose of article 17(2), the Office cannot conclude that the relevant investigative inquiries or investigative/prosecutorial decisions were made for the purpose of shielding the person concerned from criminal responsibility for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court; that there has been an unjustified delay in the proceedings which in the circumstances is inconsistent with an intent to bring the person concerned to justice; or that the proceedings were not or are not being conducted independently or impartially, and they were or are being conducted in a manner which, in the circumstances, is inconsistent with an intent to bring the person concerned to justice.
503. On this basis, having exhausted all avenues available and assessed all information obtained, the Office has determined that the only appropriate decision is to close the preliminary examination and to inform the senders of communications. While this decision might be met with dismay by some stakeholders, while viewed as an endorsement of the UK’s approach by others, the reasons set out in this report should temper both extremes.

Do you feel a little bit sick too?


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303 thoughts on “The International Criminal Court: Now Simply Indefensible

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  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig’s commentary brought back to mind a book which strongly influenced my thoughts about the law when I was a student in the 1970s. I read Professor JAG Griffith’s book ‘The politics of the judiciary‘ which forever changed my views on the law. Although now on the verge of retirement and despite the fact that the book is aged and the examples cited in the book are out of date, the central thesis still stands true. There is politics at play within the judiciary. I mention this to say, that while Griffith was doing an analysis of the application of domestic law, an equivalent assessment could be made of international tribunals and courts. It is both politics and power always at play.

    See here for relevant information –

    • Fwl

      CB the Politics of the Judiciary is a worthwhile read. Of course, as you rightly note it was written some ago. It was written before they started making judges of barristers from radical sets (although one of the curious effects of new labour was that radical sets stopped being radical and I don’t think there are not really any radical sets left). If I recollect correctly Prof Griffiths did not accuse the UK judiciary of corruption but of a sort of sub-conscious class bias one which is not as apparent where an elite has long been on power. If in power a long time one learns to accommodate and tolerate and there is no need to be corrupt. If new in power one steals in case there is no second chance. This is why radical change never turns out as dreamers anticipate. Most judges do their best to do justice. Of course they are essentially referees and it doesn’t always work to produce justice. Some are better than others and if one can’t decide between two parties then subconscious bias may lead one to prefer the side who more resembles oneself and one’s general background.

      To some extent the EU gave us a sort of constitution. It did this by requiring courts to consider whether Parliament was implementing EU directives correctly. This required UK courts to adopt a purposeful approach rather than a literal or textual approach and over time the courts started to get into this and became more active and willing to re-write legislation to say what they thought an Act should say rather than to recognise what it might literally say (i.e. to ensure it complied with EU and or ECHR law). Now we have left the EU courts may begin to revert to a literal / textual interpretation.

      In the US there is a long running debate essentially about this dichotomy (literal or purposeful decision making) with the left preferring activist Judges who adopt a more purposeful approach which re-interprets the constitution according to how society may have changed and with the right preferring a strict detached textual approach. The left argues that the textual approach is a right wing device for the right to achieve its agenda whilst purporting to be even handed, but it’s not always so. In the UK Lord Denning was the sort of Judge (and not a left wing judge) who might tended to stretch the law to achieve justice in the particular case before him (but at the cost of thereby introducing precedent which might not produce justice in another case before a different judge). These days UK courts tend to prefer the concept that the judiciary should be consistent in how it applies the law because this makes it more predictable i.e. a Judge should leave his / her personal wishes out (God help us thought when this becomes AI judicial decision making for the masses). At the same time all Judges know not to let the dirty dog eat in their court (w/o a wash – i.e. coming clean and putting matters right) and so there is an unavoidable and fascinating conflict between trying to achieve justice and following procedural and substantive law with rigorous consistency.

      Sad to read Craig’s post – I was vaguely aware that the ICC had on Kosovo insisted on a sort of even handedness with prosecutions balancing out so that a prosecution of a perceived Russian backed defendant had to be matched with a prosecution of a perceived US backed defendant.

      Sorry if this post is developing a Tristram Shandy meander, but in the US there have been some fascinating developments. President Trump has appointed three conservative Judges to the Supreme Court all of whom are deemed to be textualists and two of them have been doing some unexpected things (the 3rd of course is very new). Two of them (Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) voted with the liberals and found that the Civil Rights Act 1964 covered not only gays and lesbians but also transgender rights and even based their justification for that on a textualist interpretation of the 64 Act. One of them (Gorsuch) joined the liberals in recognising that the Creek Nation as having Sovereignty over much of eastern Oklahoma. Congress had said they were Sovereign but had not meant it. As a textualist he took them at their word and now Creek Nation are sovereign. Astonishing decisions. Some of the conservatives on the Supreme Court were aghast and felt betrayed. Prof Noah Feldman in this month’s NY Review of Books’ has a very interesting review of The Essential Saclia (father of Supreme Court textualism) in which he argues that perhaps the textualist are winning the left leaning judges over to so-called textualism by supporting them on Equality and Native American cases, but that when he looks at their decisions he doesn’t think they were actually textualist or literal and that they are laying the path for some bigger right wing challenges ahead (eg to the possibility of challenges of ambiguous laws which delegate law making powers to administrative bodies. I don’t know. There is a lot I don’t know and I have not read the Supreme Court decisions, but it makes me wonder (the mind to wander): when we reflect at the terrible government of President Trump we recoil at his utterly embarrassing lack of sophistication, his hypocrisy and pursuit of self interest, but at the same time can’t help but almost silently appreciate that he did not start new wars, he appeared ever intent to continue annoying the deep state and some argue he never grabbed all the handles of power he might have (I don’t know if this is correct). Maybe a new President will be more inclined to sanction new wars and if so who then might resist? I can’t see Biden resisting a call for war. I would not put faith in the Democratic Party nor the media nor the left leaning judges, but it is possible (albeit perhaps only remotely so) that the right leaning detached textualist judges might say a thing means what it says. This might cause some difficulties for those who do not do what they say they are doing and who start new wars especially if they are also those people who increase the power and expenditure of the Federal Government at the expense of the individual and the states. Of course this may just be pie in the sky – that the textualist judges might be the only restraint on new war? Anyway all of this is by way of saying that we need the rule of law even if it is imperfect and even if Prof Griffiths was right to say that it is inevitably self-interested. It may be all we have and we have to sacrifice some self-interest provided the judiciary accepts new blood and is open to some changes and that on the most important issues it knows where to draw the line – even if no one else in society does. Anyway, we shall see …

      • Courtenay Barnett


        Interesting that you mention Denning, for Griffith had used his decisions to illustrate his point. On issues involving the interest of the state Denning was very establishment; on issues of individual rights ( not conflicting with state interests) he would stretch equity and be a maverick. Once questioned about Griffith – his reply – “That damn man Griffith”. A compliment ( even if not meant as one) as testament to Griffith’s rigour of analysis.

        All the US stuff – well – Biden will be establishment and pro war if one comes along. The interesting thing about the Supreme Court Justices – such as say Earl Warren – is once appointed they become their own men or women and tend not to be predictable puppets. Clarence Thomas would prove the exception to my general point.

        • Fwl

          CB – thanks. You remember it better than me for it is a long time since I read it, but what you say certainly sounds about right.

      • giyane


        As I understand it in Islamic Law textual interpretations are made by very conservative, otherwise known as Salafist thinkers, while by contrast the texts themselves explain that simile and metaphor are the normal methods of scriptural exposition of the law. For example a textualist might argue that the head of the Saudi monarchy is amir ul mumineen, the chief arbiter of justice in KSA. He is of course nothing of the sort, merely being murderous and ruthless enough to impose his will in utter defiance of the law.

        ” Congress had said they were Sovereign but had not meant it.” In recognising the sovereignty of the Creek nation in Oklahoma, Congress had obviously meant a type of sovereignty that had no power.

        • fwl

          Thank you Giyane – that is interesting. I must look up different schools of Islamic jurisprudence. I would be interested to see if there are those that interpret law on multiple levels both literal and metaphysical. I like the Hodja stories – and clearly he is someone who can play the literalists at their own game and have some fun. I am not sure if there is a British school of mystical interpretation of of law (although perhaps in the days of Robert Fludd and Elizabeth I). The starting point of much Western law was that law is somehow in itself a good thing (i.e. comes from above through the ruler) but in Britain that is less so then on the continent as the tradition has been more along what we might now call libertarian lines that one should be able to what one likes unless the law prevents it (though I suspect that noble principle would have been of greater assistance to a gentleman that others subject to other pressures and forms of control). There has been a radical change of direction in the last 30 years and law has become more of a tool of social change. In China the starting point is that black letter law is a bad thing and the more of it there is then the more indicative that is of a failing state (eg EU legal set up). People should know how to behave in accordance with principle. I like to thing the British and Chinese basic principles here have something in common even if in practice they turn out rather differently. Of course in practice people everywhere often don’t behave in accordance with natural or ethical principles and get away with what they can and in the absence of a legal structure the powerful get away with taking what they will and the usual suspects will take the blame etc. which is why the Taoist might sometimes accept that there is still a need for the Confucian and the libertarian accepts there is a need for law.

          I don’t know the actual detail of the Creek Nation case, but must explore it.

          It would be interesting if the SC were to re-examine the interpretation / implementation of certain US Acts which are said to have been implemented in ways Congress had not anticipated – of course a textualist would not look to parliamentary debates to divine the purpose of an Act only its text and to the constitution.

          That is enough waffle from me for today.

      • Jennifer

        Lord Denning was a strong supporter and very vocal advocate of capital punishment. He actually enjoyed handing down death sentences. In fact, he loved it. I have never listened to or watched an interview of his in which he didn’t ‘deliver’ a death sentence. He loved the sound of his own voice resounding to: “The sentence of this court is that you will be taken from here to the place from whence you came.. and hanged by the neck until you are dead”.

        • Courtenay Barnett


          You are correct about Denning.

          Denning became famous first because of his central involvement in the Profumo Report.

          However, to be fair, Denning in later life did change his stance on Capital Punishment.


          • Courtenay Barnett

            It was Lord Goddard, the sexual pervert, who was the really vicious Judge who delivered actual death sentences and effected a miscarriage of justice in the Bentley case.

          • Meg

            And to be scrupulously fair, Albert Pierrepoint, the Chief Executioner, responsible for over 400 ‘judicial murders’ in later life did change his stance on Capital Punishment.

          • Meg

            Scotland has had it fair share of bastard judges. The infamous Lord Dawson (Thomas Cordner Dawson) was a right bastard and would have given Lord Goddard a run for his money.

            *A 2008 investigation by the Sunday Times found Dawson had the second highest rate of having his sentences or convictions overturned on appeal, with thirty successful appeals against sentence and three against conviction in the past five years. The judge with the most successful appeals was former Lord Advocate Lord Hardie.

        • Spencer Eagle

          Denning was an appalling establishment creature, best understood by his infamous ‘appalling vista’ quote.

      • mickc

        I am surprised that you are surprised.
        Despite your own personal experiences you seem to retain some (misplaced) faith in “institutions”.
        Surely the example of the Spanish rejection of a democratic referendum, which rejection was strenuously supported by the EU, and the Iraq war itself, has persuaded you that “Institutions” protect themselves and their own, not those they were intended to.
        Parliament eventually found the courage to resist a war against Syria…but I think that was because the MPs had then understood the disgust of the electorate at the outcome of the Iraq War.
        Occasionally there are individual MPs who object to the outrages committed by the British state eg the Hola camp incident, (and no, I am not a supporter of other views of that MP…) but it is rare.
        As you must know, the truth is usually revealed by individuals, not institutions; after all, you did.

  • conjunction

    Craig, I am profoundly grateful for this post, written with your usual exhaustive research and rigour.

    You say how shocked you were at this judgment but I have to say although the disparity between content and conclusion is indeed shocking and I can’t recall knowledge of any other document with regards to this, I am not shocked only sad at the general decision.

    What did shock me not long ago very profoundly was reading the book ‘Cruel Britannia’ published by Ian Cobain in 2012, which suggests that routine use of torture has been employed by the British on a number of occasions since (and including during) the Second World War. These occasions include Kenya, Aden, Northern Ireland and Iraq. The clear impression given in this book is that the use of torture was routine and sanctioned at all times by 10 Downing St.

    Cobain doesn’t explicitly say this but that was the impression I drew from his book. He certainly describes one cabinet minister travelling to Bangladesh to negotiate with the government there to do some torturing for us.

    The difference between us and the Americans is that we like to keep it secret, although the internet makes that increasingly difficult for us, whereas the Americans seem less embarrassed by their activities.

    Particularly with regard to Iraq, again, I was left with the clear impression that use of torture was de rigueur for all prisoners for the purposes of obtaining information. According to Cobain British torture techniques, first employed on German prisoners of war for the purposes of turning them were specifically devised to try and minimise the problem of prisoners just saying anything to stop the pain.

    • Mary

      Remembering LEO Charlton who refused to participate in bombing the Iraqis in 1923.

      ‘On 2 February 1923, Air Commodore Charlton took up the post of Chief Staff Officer at the headquarters of the RAF’s Iraq Command. It was at this time that the RAF employed the bombing of Iraqi villages with the intent of pacifying tribal opposition. Charlton opposed this policy and he went on to openly criticize such bombing action. Within a year of his arrival, Charlton resigned from his post in Iraq. His opposition to the bombing policy is said to have started with a visit to the local hospital in Diwaniya, where he witnessed horribly mangled civilians, including women and children, who were among the victims of a British air raid.

      On his return to Great Britain, Charlton expected to be summoned to see the Chief of the Air Staff, Hugh Trenchard. The summons never came.

      Although Charlton was barred from further postings in Iraq, he went on to serve as Air Officer Commanding No 3 Group. Charlton requested early retirement, which he was granted.’

      In recent years, the memory of Charlton was taken up by opponents of the present war in Iraq, and specifically by British opponents of their country’s involvement in that war, who hold him up as an example to be emulated by present-day officers.

      Commentator Mike Marqusee in The Guardian expressed the opinion that Charlton should have had a monument erected in his honour at London, rather than his fellow RAF commander Arthur “Bomber” Harris who conducted the bombings of Iraq without compunction and went on to bomb the German cities in World War II.’

    • NoOneYouKnow

      The US government/deep state tries to keep US torture quiet as well. It was only due to a leak of photos that Abu Ghraib came to light. The innocent men held and tortured at Guantanamo have been disappeared from media awareness. There’s little qualitative difference between US and UK fascism.

  • Republicofscotland

    Absolutely disgraceful from the ICC, I take it the case against the US will fold as well, I know the US has a clause that lets it invade the likes of the ICC to liberate allies and US personnel.

  • fitzroy

    Clearly Fatou Bensouda’s conclusions, so at variance with the evidence in the report itself, can have had nothing to do with Ms Bensouda’s assets being frozen by the United States.

  • Ron

    A few points.

    1. I do indeed feel sick having read this.
    2. there is little light in the world.
    3. I support this blog and from time to time wonder about output and activity levels. Sometimes quite uncharitable thoughts intrude. Sorry about that. It says more about me than about you.
    4. stay the course/chin up/usual platitudes

    That’s all

  • brendan stebbings

    Craig, you have my utmost respect for the due diligence you undertake in the articles you provide us. This one is an eye opener, to say the least. It also brings into sharp focus the disgraceful decision by this Govt to introduce the CHIS and OOP Bills, both of which Starmer has aided and abetted with his abstension policies. Where will this all end I wonder?
    Stay safe, and wishing you well in the next stage of your show trial. Atb B.

  • mark golding

    The Britain of PM Johnson is a Britain that’s friends with the orange pariah in the White House and arms suppliers to Arab dictators and Israel terrorists.

    That’s Britain in 2021, the friend of torturers and liars, the ally of people who look upon the magnificent vista of an unspoiled wilderness and calculate how much money they can make by destroying it. It makes me ashamed to hold a British passport.

    If the British establishment gets it’s way and attempts to promote Starmer to leader it will signal the rise of Cruel Britannia, a hideous perfidious Albion, a Hate Britain, and a disunited Kingdom in which social divisions pull society apart as homelessness rises, as the poor grow ever more impoverished, the just about second thoughts fail to manage, and a tiny minority of the extremely wealthy and well-connected enrich themselves.

    I believe that will be the theatre of Cruel Britannia that Starmer has in store for us, and that’s why resisting him when Bumbling Boris falls making the ensuing vote casting integrity the most important situation and crisis in millennia.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Highly amusing to see American traitor Jonathan Pollard fêted by Benjamin Netanyahu on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion International Airport. Flown in by private jet owned by Sheldon Adelson no less.
      If a sportsperson takes the knee Trump calls them a “goddamned traitor” whereas your actual traitor gets the red carpet treatment courtesy of Trump’s bestest buddies Netanyahu and Adelson.

      • mark golding

        A Zionist shoulder gifted by Trump – Thanks Viv for a poignant and delicious post.

        Israel’s October 1985 raid on the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Tunis headquarters that killed around 60 people was planned with information from Pollard. a judas weasle who would back-stab his best-mates wife.

        • S

          Maybe it’s more like Trump’s two fingers at the security establishment. Reading the wikipedia page it looks like he wasn’t much of an Israeli hero. He sold secrets to pakistan, at least tried to. The quotes from the security establishment suggest they found him really annoying.

    • NoOneYouKnow

      It’s difficult to find a period in British history that isn’t cruel Britannia. The empire was founded on it.

  • nevermind

    Once again, a large institution that is purveying so called justice has been found bending laws and ignoring facts and forgetting that a prosecution would send an absolute signal.
    Thing is, the ICC prides itself on recognizing Nuremberg’s outcome, its uphold like the foul beacon it is. Why are surprised that a cangaroo court has given birth to another.

    Our history is riddled with criminal connivance across borders. For example, I’m known for comparing the Hanse as the fore runner to today’s EU, who gave birth to the ICC. It was a rotten organisation that is now being viewed mafia like in its ruthless dealing with those desperate to trade, the competition and more.
    Europe’s justice is not a beacon, but an opportunity to build upon and develop it into one. Sadly this will never happen with a sulking ex empire licking his wounds, continually, it is incapable to work in a team it can’t manipulate.

    On a positive note, your excellent rebuttal of this report is merely another reason for me to deny myself UK citizenship, can’t afford it anyway.

  • Goose

    Craig mentions fewer viewers for this well-written dissection of the ICC’s cravenness to Anglo lobbying, shown by this decision.

    You’d have to admit it’s a pretty depressing and disempowering stuff, insomuch as, there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it and the political scene in the UK suggests a whole lot more of this type of non-rights based order to come.

    We know the history: from the grubby Bush family vendetta against Saddam Hussein personally, after Hussein allegedly tried to kill Bush Snr in Kuwait – with 9/11 providing a pretext to justify a nonsensical invasion/occupation of Iraq; first based on press reported bogus Al-Qaeda – Iraq connections, then later, non-existent WMD. Awed by US power, Blair’s determination for the UK to be alongside the US ‘whatever’ , produced the wholly contrived ‘sexed up’ WMD dossier, and later a promotion for the man involved in producing that. Through to today, and Blair’s unfathomable wealth from ‘advising’ brutal ME despots.

    It’s not the ICC we need answers from, it’s probably the creator.

    • RogerDodger

      God come down,
      if you’re really there:
      well you’re the one who claims to care…

      Don’t worry about the rate of posts Craig. Quality beats quantity after all, and as much as we like to see it, none of us – not even your supporters – are *entitled* to your output.

  • 6033624

    It boils down to, ‘we asked them and they said they hadn’t done anything wrong’

    I have to agree, this is worse than not having an ICC in the first place. By ‘investigating’ and ‘clearing’ countries who have obviously committed crimes they justify that country’s propaganda (whatever it may be)

    This is a case of the more you know, the more it will anger you..

  • Lorna Campbell

    The sole positive, as far as I can see, that can be taken from your piece, Mr Murray, is that of the propaganda element. Those of us quite used to the double standards and utter cynicism of the British State know that things are done against civilian populations abroad and here that do not comply with any proper standard of decency, and totally in opposition to human and civil rights.

    It is enraging and sickeningly disappointing, but never shocking or even surprising. Once you open your eyes, there is no going back. Only those with their eyes firmly closed and/or those for whom the ‘if I do it, it’s fine, if anyone else does it, it’s bad’ theory of international justice continue to expect the British government and state to enact decency in its international policies. Sites like yours continue to open eyes and continue to give proper advocacy to those who are not allowed to speak. That is a victory of sorts. Not what we would want. No, definitely not that.

    Just knowing that ‘our boys’ have done these things – and we know – even those among us who refuse to believe it – that it was done in our name. It is both possible to support ‘our boys’, look after them when they return, and to expect them to behave with humanity and decency in the theatre of war, and to acknowledge it when they fall short. Perhaps, some day, we might not send them to foreign fields to die or be injured or to kill and injure others at all. To the victor the spoils, the lies, the self-deceits and the undermining of international law. What they cannot do is close our eyes – or their own – to their crimes against humanity. We know. We know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, but that we did and do; we know that our troops are as capable of war crimes as any others; and we know that we know, they know that we know, they know that they know and we know that they know. It is a kind of justice.

    • mark golding

      It is not justice at all Lorna in the true sense of right and wrong. Knowing is sentient, without accepting the pain, without the suffering, without the grief and torment. Knowing is a presumption and is egotistic. Knowing does not invoke hope, understanding, trust, feeling or conviction. The absence of these tenets is why the ICC so cruelly, so wickedly, so selfishly abandoned; closing down its investigation into War Crimes committed by the British in Iraq.

      • Lorna Campbell

        I take your points, Mark Golding, and I agree with them absolutely, as I agree with every word that Mr Murray has written. What good did taking to the streets do with the Blair war machine? What good has anything since done? The reasons why the Court has shut down its investigations are evident: it would serve no practical purpose to prosecute the ‘victor’, as we discovered from Nuremberg. Only the defeated must suffer the humiliation and Nemesis of a war crimes tribunal. It is REALpolitik bleeding into the law, and it happens all the time. Sometimes, even then, selected ones are chosen to evade any kind of ‘justice’, again because they are useful to the West or because they have information that could be useful to the West.

        The UK sits as a member of the Security Council, as do the Americans, the Chinese, the Russians. Do you believe that they would countenance one of their big brothers being prosecuted? That would threaten their own security and sense of entitlement as players in the premier league. Why do you think that people like Mr Murray are castigated and dragged before the courts instead of the truly guilty? Why do you think that journalists and human rights lawyers are murdered, at worst, or jailed or taken out of circulation and shut down in other ways? I am not trying to be smug or “egotistic”, sir. I am angry, very angry. Even justified rage and anger can turn inwards to no point at all, though.

        For example, we know that the Chinese do not want bad publicity about their treatment of their Uighur population, so the more we write about it, talk about it, show it on the news, the greater the impact. No government wants to be shown up as being vicious and oppressive unless its members are all true psychopaths. Saddam was a psychopath, but even he tried desperately to turn the West from invading Iraq because he was telling the truth about the WMD. Does it actually help one poor Uighur? No. Does highlighting the atrocities in Iraq help or bring back one Iraqi lost in a war that was utterly unnecessary from a purely practical viewpoint of ridding the country of its dictator? No.

        But, then, the war was not fought for the Iraqi people, but for Western interests as per. Nevertheless, Blair and Campbell are well aware that a substantial percentage of the British people detest and abhor their actions. No, they may never be brought to answer for their cruelties and misdeeds just as if their hands had wielded the iron bar or the boot or the electric torture instrument, but they know that we know that it might as well have been their hands. I have heard both Blair and Campbell challenged when they have been least expecting it, even now, and Blair has aged drastically, carrying the knowledge of his guilt. Campbell, apparently, less so, but I do wonder. Because they, and those soldiers, have not been prosecuted, does that mean that we should stop campaigning, that we should shine the spotlight on the ICC, that we should stop highlighting in the press and the media that grave atrocities have occurred or simply forget that they have occurred, who carried them out and by which methods? NO, of course not. Justice and law are two concepts that should, at least occasionally, intertwine, but those occasions will always be rare. Often, you get neither.

  • Eric

    “The notion that Security Council Resolution 699 of 1991 authorised the 2002 invasion – …”

    Actually, the invasion was in 2003. Otherwise, thank you!

  • Tom Kennedy

    Thank you Craig for another excellent and well-researched article, which is genuinely stomach-churning. I for one do not expect you to write on a scheduled basis. I know that you have your own good reasons for that. I wish you & those you care about a happy and healthy new year.

  • aspnaz

    Craig, stop believing that there are “betters” and you will soon find the world will start to meet your expectations. There are no “betters”, there are only weak humans who, when given some power, will always abuse that power and then can only aspire to being white-washed crooks. You can see this in every walk of life to a lesser or greater extent. From councillors fixing the street parking or changing bus routes so that they get some personal benefit, to scout leaders preying on children, to someone “putting a word in” to help a friend. Like everything in humanity, some are worse than others, but all end up abusing their power in one way or another, without exception. You will too if you win political office.

    Institutions only gained respectability by hiding their crimes: just look at Nuremberg, that was a complete travesty of justice by a bunch of hyenas after blood. As winners they had the opportunity to white wash their crimes while fabricating evidence in order to justify the pre-ordained death sentences. That alone should be enough to convince you that the ICC is, and always has been, both weak and corrupt.

  • FranzB

    There was a report in the Daily Maverick about how the SIB deployed inexperienced, unqualified and junior SIB staff to Iraq to investigate war crimes. This meant that crimes were never properly investigated, and that junior staff were unable to complete investigations because they were overruled by other senior soldiers. It led to the situation where a couple of staff were sitting in an office in England supposedly investigating war crimes committed in Iraq.

    • Squeeth

      Sabotage of such investigations that are conducted are not as discreet as it used to be because there is no political cost to openness. Same goes for trials.

      • Squeeth

        Sabotage of such investigations that are conducted [is] not as discreet as it used to be because there is no political cost to openness now; same goes for trials.


    • Lorna Campbell

      Thank you, Jm. Just heard that Blair has been given another extremely lucrative appointment. It makes you wonder whether these narcissistic people – and some are also psychopaths – actually enter politics because they know they’ll never want for money-gathering ‘work’ when they retire or are voted out? I believe some do enter politic for decent reasons, ideals, and some get out when they realize the reality. Others just accept the status quo. I do not think that top people across the board – in politics, in big business, in big banks, in the stock markets, etc. – are like the rest of us. While we, in the main, are disturbed, to a lesser or greater extent, by exploitation and bad decisions and results, their brains allow them to skip over the conscience-disturbing brakes on action, and do what benefits them. Some day, we are going to be able to recognize them at a much earlier stage, and block them from high office and/or power in any sphere where they can do damage.

      Only then, I think, will we be able to live as human beings and all reach our potential as one species (hopefully, being able to be kind to, and solicitous of, other species, too, for their own sakes and not for our benefit). Until then, the b******s are always with us, and those, like Mr Murray, in all walks of life and fields of endeavour, who do care about others as well as themselves, will continue to be persecuted and sidelined and silenced.

      I hope they drop your case, Mr Murray, because they understand that prosecuting you will serve no purpose except to alienate even more people, but Im not holding my breath. Stupidity appears to be their forte, not sense or logic.

  • Giyane

    The legacy of cruelty of the Ottoman Empire meant that in order to survive many had to be double agents, working for Saddam in order to subvert his power. Duplicity is not something ordinary Brits readily understand. To us that strongly looks like double lying, while to Iraqis it looks like survival.

    Once my Iraqi friend told me he was categorically not going home for a holiday, but next day called me from Istanbul, totally oblivious to my British sensitivities to lying. Possibly the level if cruelty meted on Iraqi civilians by Brits, hooding, sexual assault , came from trying to break down people who were masters of political deceit.

    Troops needed to know facts in order to manage the invasion successfully. This in fact is the main reason why the invasion was always going to be a blood bath, because so many political factions were being suppressed by Saddam. And many of those factions wanted the invasion to happen.

    Inside the Muslim community where I have lived for 20 years, lying is routine as chilli sauce, which actually presses all my panic buttons, a fact which they are blissfully unaware of because lying to them is what you have to do to survive. Then they see me using unpermitted coping mechanisms. Actually guys, living with you lot is extremely stressful to my mental equilibrium. What’s more , I don’t think you’re just about to change.

    The milutary top brass must have told the troops to be absolutely ruthless, as a strategy , a necessity, of war.
    Like the police in Bradford chasing a Pakistani drug dealer who daily intimidates his clients, just take him out by gun. Blair will always use this line of argument to justify the brutality of the invasion. At the time, I thought it was a very good reason NOT to invade

    Many Iraqis were desperate for a civilising Western force to change the society they inherited from the Turkish Empire. But of course what you want in theory isn’t always what actually happens.

    • giyane

      Two examples of daily life in Alum Rock in Birmingham
      1/ My wife works cash in hand for £3 p.h. in a shop. She declares 30 hours but works double those hours. Her boss claims furlough for her and gives her a payslip, but no furlough money. Why? Because he knows that DWP will say that my wife is defrauding the Tax Credit system by not reporting the situation to them.
      2/ The police pay informants, mostly convicted criminals under licence on parole who are unemployable, to spy on the community. Forgetting that he’s supposed to be clandestine, my neighbour knocks on the wall when he sees me browsing something dodgy. So if you complain to the police … you are complaining to the very organisation that is paying him to spy on you.

      With all due respect I’m sure Ms Bensouda’s circumstances encompass more complications than my tiny little private annoyances. If the ICC has been perverted, that doesn’t mean that the people in it are corrupt. It means that the Western powers are exerting personal intimidation on the people in charge. So I have to disagree with Craig’s suggestion that the ICC is simply indefensible. It has done what it can, and has now been blocked by the PTB in USUKIS and other participants in the politcal world who wanted the Iraq invasion to happen in 2003. Maybe even wanted Daesh in 2014.

      • Deb O'Nair

        “my neighbour knocks on the wall when he sees me browsing something dodgy.”

        How does he see what you’re browsing?

        • giyane

          Deb O’Nair

          I’ve no idea about the technology, I’m only interested in the politics. The Lawrence of Arabia sytem of taking control of an autonomous, sovereign society was to approach the lowest in the tribal pecking order and ask them what their grievances were. Help was offerred to defeat the offending tribe, and help was willingly returned. After all they aleady had the grievance as motivation, and they now had the means of redress.

          I think it’s very significant that the people involved in the spying are almost unemployable and in charge of them are agents who are highly skilled in non-British politics. The unemployables are are good Muslims who lack English language or other skills and can’t find work, while the agents are recruited for their savviness about political lying, and working for the tentacles of British intelligence against ordinary civilians like me is as easy as falling off a log.

          As with all political work, spying presents the agents with opportunities to trade the information they glean for the plods with the mosque, to the families and friends and employers of the people they are spying on, and this builds them a platform of power in the community which is eventually far more rewarding in networking terms than the good salary they get from the British state.

          The corrupt. cynical bastards inside the British state are totally happy that the politically minded Muslims are doing the work of annoying their critics for them. You cannot conquer a foreign country without the assistance of local traitors, and it seems you can’t even rule your own country without recruiting criminals. Now that Tiny Britain has no Empire, it can still try to appease the rage of its former imperial enemies by diverting their anger from themselves and their Empire2 class towards members of the Muslim community. Touché. The British are outright bastards. I know, it takes one to know one. I am also a bastard.

      • Meg

        The police employ actual criminals to go around kicking peoples’ door in often in exchange for wiping criminal records.

        • Giyane


          The state employ criminals dressed in white coats to burn out the brains with Lithium of anybody who challenges their world order. As Sir David Attenborough has pointed out , there is a shortage of lions and dens to throw dissenters, in this decline and fall of the British Empire,
          Zealots will have their moral compass erased by psycho drugs.

          Torture rendition brainwashing of Muslims .continues on an industrial scale, followed by total destruction of their countries infrastructures on a scale not seen since the African Slave Trade and Victorian de- islamisation of Africa. Which was followed by fake academic denigration of black people by wonks like Darwin.

          When some bright spark writes The Decline of the British, Turkish, Mutual, US , Zionist etc Empires, in the absence of a ready supply of lions they used injections. This is the reason why so many people are very suspicious of the covi vaccines. But not me. I have already been punctured by the gasping British Empire enough times to realise that they will die of moral turpitude , long before me. If not already died.

    • James B

      Giyane – well, I clearly don’t have the broad experience that you have, but the few Iraqis that I do know gave me a very different picture; the Iraqis saw all the problems with their society and the way it was governed, they wanted change, but they did not want the USA/UK to effect this change by invasion and by use of military power. I’m thinking of one guy, going through university (in Sweden) to get his qualification to become a teacher in Sweden. He made it clear to me that he was in Sweden because he had been kicked out of Iraq due to the fact that he had been a political activist. He of all people therefore wanted to see change. His heart sank to his boots when he saw that the USA/UK were thinking of invasion and sank even further when they actually did it. I met other Iraqis who were of similar opinion. So it isn’t clear to me that you are right when you suggest that the invasion was actually welcomed by any serious section of the Iraqi population; even the most visceral opponents of Saddam Hussein did not want to see change effected in that way.

      I’d quite agree that *if* they were going to have a successful invasion *then* it had to be ruthless, no Queensbury rules, all the dirty tricks in the book and violations of the Geneva code were probably necessary. There was exactly one war crime here, which was the invasion itself. The war criminals are the politicians who proposed the idea and who voted it through parliament. They should be hung, drawn and quartered.

      • Giyane

        James B

        Exactly right. I saw only a CIA agent who had fought in Afghanistan. Most other iraqis were petrified of him. But CIA agents are the immediate point of contact for USUKIS decision makers. The nest of accumulated asylum spies in London is unrepresentative of normal views.

        However it is fashionable in the up and coming South Asian British to profess radicalism in spite of having run away from it. Just as our up and coming native English tradesmen say it’s fashionable to have had covid. What people say and what they do might be very different.

    • Bayard

      My uncle worked for years in Iraq. He was particularly struck by the honesty of the Iraqis he worked with and met.

      • Giyane


        I totally agree with you. But political people like say Starmer and his wonks are a different species from the rest of us

  • Plan Z

    All well and good but Fatou Bensouda may be just simply eyeing the next rung on the neoliberal career progression ladder after an eight year stint at the ICC. However current matters must rule, its 20 days to trumps expiry, his Plans A,B and C have failed and the same combination (ie bliars/straws) is in charge as we speak. If the USS Liberty had been sunk in 1967, Egypt would have been nuked by POTUS LBJ to revive his flagging presidency and eretz Sinai would be under occupation today (like the West Bank) with a permanently weakened Egypt on the other side of the Suez canal. Hats off to Iran for maintaining decorum despite considerable provocations by the usual devilish suspects (ie trumps/kushners) in charge at the WH. But it aint over until the fat lady has had umpteen covid jabs, the foie gras hold over her is too strong, even another 2m man march in Central London will be to no avail.

    • mark golding

      Hats off indeed Plan Z -Moazzam Begg is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and spokesman for Cageprisoners said “The ICC could have set a very powerful and visible precedent in holding Britain to account. It could have given hope and a semblance of justice to those who have neither. Instead, the ICC is a laughing stock and few will be able to take it seriously again.”

    • Bayard

      “even another 2M man march in Central London will be to no avail.”

      That’s because the only thing the government has ever taken any notice of is rioting. Who cares if two million, three million people march peacefully through the streets of the capital, what skin is that off anyone’s nose?

          • jake

            The riots…really?
            It’s my recollection that it was the civil disobedience of withholding payment that gummed up the works and forced a re-think. Still, if you have fond memories of a big day out, chanting slogans and retelling of tales in the pub afterwards…

          • Bayard

            The civil disobedience wasn’t that widespread and probably wasn’t that easy to distinguish from the problems of collecting the tax that were inherent in the nature of the tax. However, in these cases, it is almost impossible to say, looking at a pile of straws on the ground, which was the actual straw that broke the camel’s back and which were the straws that the camel could have easily carried.

      • doug scorgie

        December 31, 2020 at 09:33

        “That’s because the only thing the government has ever taken any notice of is rioting. Who cares if two million, three million people march peacefully through the streets of the capital, what skin is that off anyone’s nose?”

        That is true Bayard. It is also why the MSM only report on protests where violence has occurred, after all there is no news in peaceful public gatherings. Also a lot of that violence is being instigated by the state through the police and what used to be called the special branch – which is now part of MI5 – to undermine the credibility of public protests.

        • Twirlip

          So the state instigates violence that causes the media, which largely supports the government, to report the protests, which puts pressure on the government to accede to the protestors’ demands; yet the controllers of the action behind the scenes haven’t yet cottoned on that this is a self-defeating strategy? This seems to imply that they’re not exactly masterminds!

  • M.J.

    Reading a wiki article about Fatou Bensouda, she doesn’t sound like a Western stooge at all. Trump’s government revoked her visa in order to hinder the work of the ICC in exposing war crimes by Americans. But why she should have permitted so much undue British influence in her report (evidenced e.g. by the expression “Danny boy”) is still a mystery.

  • Contrary

    Craig – all health and happiness to you and yours for the new year, may you have a successful 2021 in all you do.

    Happy new year for when it comes for all the contributors here too – the fascinating variety of opinion here is always entertaining or informative … Or interesting! Haha 😀

    And best wishes to the MOD’s for New Year, thanks for all your hard work this past year (moi? Sooking up in case this is called out as too off-topic? Never! 🙂 )

    [ Mod: Happy New Year to you too! ]

  • BrianFujisan


    This Body of Work is exceptional, a Mere Blog Post.. Infuriating, bewildering. Sickening .. Jail the ICC Cowards.

    Anyway..Have a More Hopeful New year ..Peace to you and Yours.

  • M.J.

    HNY 2021. In under 3 weeks the world’s attention will be taken up with the inauguration of the 46th President of the USA. I hope that you manage to keep your liberty, one way or the other.

  • Stonky

    Happy New Year Mods. I want to respond to a post by Lorna Campbell, but it’s so far up the thread now that my answer might get lost. As Lorna is a poster whom I know and respect form several blogs, I don’t want that to happen.

    Lorna, you wrote:

    For example, we know that the Chinese do not want bad publicity about their treatment of their Uighur population, so the more we write about it, talk about it, show it on the news, the greater the impact. No government wants to be shown up as being vicious and oppressive unless its members are all true psychopaths… Does it actually help one poor Uighur? No…

    I struggle to understand this mindset. This whole thread, and the article behind it, is about grotesque levels of abuse and lies and propaganda and media manipulation on the part of powerful Western forces. The truth of the article is self-evident. You cannot read it and say to yourself “This isn’t true”, or “Craig is wrong on this one.” (Even the established critics who are capable of arguing that any black is white as long as it’s the opposite of what Crag is saying have steered well clear of this one.)

    You personally are fully aware that everything that the UK establishment tells us about Scotland and independence is a pack of lies.

    And yet, when exactly the same people who engage in this filth start telling you about China, you uncritically swallow what you’re told and even regurgitate it.

    The bigger the lie… is a glib truism, but there’s a profound truth behind it. If the lies you tell are small, they might be questioned. If the lies you tell are massive, then there is a tendency, subliminal or conscious, for the target audience to say to itself“Nobody would dare to lie to that degree. It must be true.. “ And the liars take full advantage.

    I suspect you have never taken the trouble to go back and trace the root sources of the Western claims about what is going on in Xinjiang, which are easily available. I suggest you do. They are risible. In any case other than China, anybody using that stuff as evidence to make any kind of claim about any country would simply be laughed at.

      • Stonky

        Indeed he has. I trust his sources were more reliable than the sources of a similar report doing the rounds of the Western media at the same time, about how 1.5 million Beijingers had been evicted to make way for the Olympics…

        And I’m very surprised to see that you haven’t appeared on this thread previously to explain exactly why Craig is wrong on all this, and how wrong he is…

    • Bayard

      So many arguments these days boil down to “my internet sources are better than your internet sources” when, in fact, unless you have direct personal knowledge of what is going on, “my friend, who works in a hospital, tells me…..” , you have no idea whether one source is right and the other wrong, both are half right, or, most likely, both are complete bollocks. Our criteria as to whether we believe a source tends to be much more founded on whether we want it to be true than whether we have any evidence that the source is particularly trustworthy.

      • Stonky

        My sources are the actual sources for the claims that one (or one and a half, whatever) million Uyghurs are being held in concentration camps. You know, the ones our media and politicians use.

        What are your sources?

        • Bayard

          I don’t have any, I was making a general point, following on from your “You personally are fully aware that everything that the UK establishment tells us about Scotland and independence is a pack of lies. And yet, when exactly the same people who engage in this filth start telling you about China, you uncritically swallow what you’re told and even regurgitate it.”

          • Stonky

            But your point isn’t valid in this case Bayard. Because I haven’t gone looking for “other interent sources” who will tell me “a different story”.

            I’ve simply taken the trouble to go and look at the sources that the West has used for its claims. And they’re risible half-arsed nonsense.

          • Bayard

            It was a general point, it wasn’t aimed at either you or this particular discussion.

    • Giyane


      The bigger the lie. I think the West and China are on the same page about suppression of dissent. Obviously politics requires a few fatuous and misleading lies to throw us off the scent, such as Huawei. Are our Intel backdoors kosher and their Intel backdoors criminal? Are our medical brainwashings by psychosis drugs, nay brain electrution, our torture rendition of Muslims, decent and helpful, while Chinese re-education methods brutal and imperialist.

      Kettles calling pots black. Lorna Campbell is sound as a pound, but the truth is that both China and this evil country are using Nazi technology on people’s ideologues on a routine, daily basis. Both of them spiralling completely out of control out of tgecrealms of common decency.

      • Stonky

        both China and this evil country are using Nazi technology on people’s ideologues on a routine, daily basis. Both of them spiralling completely out of control (an out of the) realms of common decency…

        Just as a matter of interest Giyane, how much time have you spent in China?

        • Giyane


          China has a curious rule about not giving z visas after the age of 60. Before that I was busy about offspring and parents.

          • Stonky

            China has a curious rule about not giving z visas after the age of 60…

            This is the problem when you’ve been conditioned into always believing the worst about someone. There is absolutely nothing curious about the rule. It’s perfectly simple. The retirement age for men in China is still 60. So you can’t be employed in China over the age of 60. So you’re not eligible for a work visa.

            On my wider point:
            1. You’ve never been to China
            2. You know that the Western media lie all the time about everything
            3. Nevertheless you appear to be willing to accept uncritcally anything you’re told about China.

            1. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in China.
            2. I’ve seen how much Western media reporting on China is, like everything else they write about, a pack of lies and distortions
            3. I’ve never been to Xinjiang to see what is happening there
            4.The last people in the world I’m going to trust in terms of what is happening there are Western journalists.
            (And that’s before we go into the fact that the actual sources of Western media claims are risible half-arsed nonsense)

          • Kempe

            A Class A permit for high grade experts. The Chinese government recognises that it needs to raise the retirement age but is facing much opposition. It doesn’t appear to apply to the Politburo anyway, 17 of the 25 members are over 60. Life expectancy in China is also on the low side, c.77.

          • Stonky

            “Not true… I am 76 and pick up my third residence visa/work permit on Monday.

            I know it’s possible to get one. I’m 64 and I’ve got one.

            But if you’re over 60 and you’ve never worked in China and you’ve no marketable skills then you’re not going to get one. And there’s nothing “curious” about that.

          • Stonky

            “The Chinese government recognises that it needs to raise the retirement age but is facing much opposition…”

            Exactly what was the sample size and the demographic of the people you interviewed in China that led you to this conclusion? Actually you can round off to the nearest thousand.

            “It doesn’t appear to apply to the Politburo anyway, 17 of the 25 members are over 60…”

            You’re right. It doesn’t. Being that membership of the politburo isnt’ a “job” in which you’re “employed”, then it wouldn’t. Apart from that, you make a fantastic point.

            “Life expectancy in China is also on the low side, c.77…”

            This is exactly the kind of dogshit masquerading as reporting you get in the Western media. If you insist on comparing China with, say, Switzerland, it is indeed “on the low side”. If only there was another massive country that was poorer than sub-Saharan Africa when it took on its current political form in the late 1940s after a century of occupation, oppression and exploitation…

            But hey! There is! India! And India’s a Western-style democracy!. Look how much better it’s doing than stoopid old China!

            Oh. Life expectancy 69.

          • Kempe

            Well you’re very good at ‘poisoning the well’, so who should we believe? The tightly controlled and heavily censored material issued by the Chinese government? I’m sure we could rely on that to be unbiased and objective…

            Running the country is a job as much as running or working in a factory and leaders should lead by example. If at 60 you’re considered too old to stitch trainers you’re too old to be in government but why have a statutory retirement age anyway? If people want to work for longer why shouldn’t they. Like many other nations China has a problem with an ageing population, lagging behind in sexual equality too as the retirement age for women is only 55.

            Yes being a western style democracy is obviously the reason why India’s life expectancy is lagging behind. If they were only a military dictatorship like China imagine how much happier they’d all be!

          • Stonky

            “Well you’re very good at ‘poisoning the well’, so who should we believe? The tightly controlled and heavily censored material issued by the Chinese government?”

            I don’t actually need to know what the Chinese narrative is or care about it. All I need is to know what the Western narrative is and to satisfy myself that it’s a load of half-arsed nonsense. Which, as usual, it is.

            “If at 60 you’re considered too old to stitch trainers you’re too old to be in government but why have a statutory retirement age anyway? If people want to work for longer why shouldn’t they. Like many other nations China has a problem with an ageing population, lagging behind in sexual equality too as the retirement age for women is only 55…”

            Priceless. Being “forced” to receive a generous state pension at the age of 50, 55 or 60 is now “a bad thing”. You ought to come and explain to my sisters-in-law what a terrible time they’re having. They both retired at 50 on a pension that gives them a higher disposable income than about three quarters of the population of India. Meanwhile, how happy the lucky UK citizens who won’t see theirs till they’re 67…

            “Yes being a western style democracy is obviously the reason why India’s life expectancy is lagging behind. If they were only a military dictatorship like China imagine how much happier they’d all be!”

            I seem to have managed to get under your skin today Kempe, I’m happy to say. Flailing around and calling China a military dictatorship is just stupid. China isn’t even close to being a military dictatorship. Want a military dictatorship? Try Taiwan under Chiang Kai Shek (1949-1987). Military dictatorship under martial law (the longest period of unbroken martial law in modern history).

            Anyway, isn’t it confusing for you, trying to remember whether you like military dictatorships or hate them? Your heroes the Yanks love them. They were happy to fund old Chiang’s forty-year military dictatorship under martial law with guns, bombs, missiles, aircraft and billions of dollars…

          • Kempe

            If people want to work past normal retirement age why shouldn’t they have that choice? ” Retired… on a pension that gives them a higher disposable income than about three quarters of the population of India ” doesn’t set the bar very high – even if you happen to live in India – so a strange comparison to make.

            ” I seem to have managed to get under your skin today Kempe ”

            Only in your dreams.

  • Sarge

    Well done for highlighting this craven decision by the ICC, now proudly outing itself as a neo-con front organisation. Yet again, however, an absence of any other outrage, or even reportage, provokes the recurring question of recent years — whither the celebrated lions of Liberal Britain, the country’s moral beacons?
    Where are the giants?

  • Republicofscotland

    Happy New Year Craig, I hope you and your family have a safe and prosperous year ahead.

  • DunGroanin

    Plus ça change! In this New Years Day of infamy. As BrexShit was ascended with French words as has been usual for a thousand years and Bozo’s dad does the dirty – again.

    Really the usual aristo class exceptionalism, these ancient martial family psychopaths trained from birth to hide behind the skirts of the Crown.

    ‘Never admit a crime, don’t apologise, prosecute the accusers etc’

    Bastards when they arrived in 1066 and A whole lot more to this day. Proud of their illegitimacy.

    The only recourse is to name them and publicly call them out – daily and in big letters on walls everywhere. Fuck them before they fuck us even more daily.

    Perhaps a EHRC court is the only place to take this to now?

    And public pillorying so that they and their families cannot escape the oxygen of infamy.

    The Limited Hangout and deliberate fake trail setting to lure away from the perpetrators’ vileness in this instance goes back to that arsehole splinter from the Murdoch School for Rotters – Pierce Morgan, who continued the degradation of the ‘socialist’ newspaper after Maxwell’s demise and the senior thug Campbell’s departure to greater sexier lies, by publishing fake and easily disputable as fake allegations of the criminality of our troops – who were only ever following orders.

    The MSM and a wholly controlled by DS media moles are busy celebrating this morning having delivered their DINO hard BrexShit that had allowed the long planned Great Escape from non-exceptionality. The Groan’s super deep cover wolves Harris and Elliot already marching the readers towards the piratical Freedom Of BrexShit. Arseholes and slave masters working for the slave owners and doing their ‘bit’ for their mates and masters.

    They will not squeak a pip.

    The Officers, and their Generals and their family histories – schools and chums – and their orders of infamy must be made public for a unvarnished history. All else is pissing in the wind.

  • Scott

    Thanks for such a great post to finish 2020 Craig.

    I question your assertion however that we are observing the end of an impartial international rule of law; that is an incredibly depressing thought as we start 2021.

    – The international bodies (OPCW, ICC) continue to have a level of impartiality where non-Muslim conflicts are concerned. Perhaps what we are observing is an ideological consensus in the West, an alignment on religious grounds (‘the great war of civilisation’), but otherwise lacks cohesion in conflicts outside the Middle-East especially involving non-Muslim countries.

    – I suggest this ideological shift has become more marked since 9/11, explaining why the Balkan war in the 1990s, where Bosnia and Herzegovina had over 50% Muslim populations, was treated differently by the ICC.

    Thoughts are appreciated.

    • defo

      1990 is before 2001?
      Your probably not far wrong though.
      It’s the bidding of those who can’t be named.

      Happy new year all.

  • nevermind

    Wishing you all a healthy and spirited new Year, happiness will come back when people are allowed mobility again, when we are allowed to touch and hug and sing.
    Sincere thanks to the Mod. for his diligence and fairness, promise to make less mistakes.
    Many EU citizens here are still left with very little info on what this New Year will bring for us, but change has arrived via post. the DWP wants to see my marriage certificate for the first time in 35 years, one wonders why?

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