Re: (FYI) Reuter: War Crimes Court Seen at the Hague by Next Year
- I agree with Norbert's comments. For the court to have jurisdiction
over crimes yet to be committed seems to at least partially eliminate
its raison d'�tre.
On the other hand, I agree to some extent with the position of the
United States (which, I'm sure, they will be pleased to hear) that there
has to be some safeguards built into the system to prevent trumped up
charges for political purposes and the possibility of the politicization
of the court itself. One difficulty that I can envisage is the nature
of the values established by the court; e.g. the court will likely be
weighted in favor of common law/judeo/christian principles. There are
other value systems throughout the world over whose adherents the court
would purport to prevail.
Thats my $0.02 worth.
Norbert Strade wrote:
> *I don't understand this argument. Does it mean that crimes committed[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> the current ad-hoc courts on Ruanda and Ex-Yugoslavia and the start of
> the ICC
> won't be persecuted? Both the Ruanda and Ex-Y. courts were created
> *after* most
> of the crimes had happened (not to mention Nuremberg). So what's the
> deal here?
> To save the current Russian leadership from persecution in order to
> get their
> support for the ICC in exchange? N.S.
- Saturday March 31 11:27 AM ET
War Crimes Court Seen at the Hague by Next Year
By Gideon Long
FORIO, Italy (Reuters) - An International Criminal Court (ICC) capable of
trying suspects on genocide and war crimes charges should be ready in the
Hague by next year, one of its key advocates said on Saturday.
But Philippe Kirsch, chairman of the ICC's preparatory commission and the
driving force behind the court, told Reuters that it would not be able to try
crimes committed prior to the court's creation.
``Asking states to approve a court which would have been able to look at past
crimes would have been a pretty tall order,'' Kirsch said in an interview.*
His comments came as former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who has
been indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal, was holed up in his Belgrade
villa fighting off arrest on domestic charges of corruption and abuse of
The U.N. court accuses Milosevic of crimes against humanity for atrocities
alleged to have been committed against ethnic Albanians by forces under his
command in Kosovo in 1999.
The ICC will be a permanent court based in the Hague and would replace ad-hoc
tribunals like those that have been set up to deal with crimes committed in
Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
It would have powers to try suspects on charges of genocide, war crimes,
crimes against humanity and aggression, once that offence is satisfactorily
Canada's Kirsch, who spearheaded the approval of the court's founding statute
at a conference in Rome in 1998, said the bid to put the ICC on its feet was
``Twenty-nine countries have now ratified the statute which is more than four
times the number that had done so a year ago,'' he said on the sidelines of a
strategy meeting of the ICC's proponents.
``In March 2000, there were seven and now there are 29 so obviously there has
been exponential progress. 139 countries have signed the statute which is the
first step toward ratification so it seems clear that within a year or so the
statute will have entered into force and the court will exist.''
Sixty countries must ratify the statute for the court to come into being.
Among those that have already done so are G7 powers Germany, Italy, France and
Canada but the glaring absentee from the list is the United States, one of
only seven countries including China and Libya, which voted against the
statute in Rome.
The United States did sign up at the end of last year -- one of the last acts
of Bill Clinton's administration -- but is extremely unlikely to ratify the
statute in its current form.
U.S. Reviewing Its Position
``The new administration (of U.S. President Bush) is reviewing its own
position vis a vis the court,'' Kirsch acknowledged.
Washington's key concern is that U.S. soldiers on missions abroad could be
made subject to politicized charges related to alleged offences committed in
It wants individual countries to have the final say over whether their
citizens should stand trial.
But Kirsch said that was unacceptable.
``Think of Yugoslavia, of Rwanda, of Cambodia, of Nazi Germany,'' he said.
``The people who committed and authorized those crimes were all agents of the
``If you put in a condition that says that to try a Serbian national you need
the consent of Serbia, it's never going to happen. It would be to deprive the
court of any strength.''
He said the advantage of the ICC would be that it would act as a deterrent in
a way which an ad-hoc tribunal, set up after crimes are committed, never
*I don't understand this argument. Does it mean that crimes committed between
the current ad-hoc courts on Ruanda and Ex-Yugoslavia and the start of the ICC
won't be persecuted? Both the Ruanda and Ex-Y. courts were created *after* most
of the crimes had happened (not to mention Nuremberg). So what's the deal here?
To save the current Russian leadership from persecution in order to get their
support for the ICC in exchange? N.S.