West and the Global Justice System
When it comes to war crimes committed by the high ranking officials of United States of America over the last half of the 20th century, a very astute comparison can be drawn with the leaders of the Nazi Germany. Exalted United States officials, while claiming to carry the flag of peace, democracy, and freedom in every country around the globe, have been involved in the cruelest atrocities against innocent civilians on a number of occasions.Many often commit the grave error of presenting George Bush as the only devil, to borrow the word from Hugo Chavez, in the American ruling class. This view, as a rudimentary glance over the history of the last few decades instructs, is highly inaccurate. Bill Clinton, the former President of USA, approved the dropping of 2,000 cruise missiles and 6,000 tons of explosives on Yugoslavia during aerial attacks which continued for a period of 78 days and nights, and resulted in a loss of property worth tens of billions and ruined the life of millions of individuals. NATO’s attacks literally bombed Yugoslavia to the stone ages. George Bush Sr. allowed the 40 days bombing of Iraq and instituted draconian sanctions against their people, which resulted in suffering of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including children. He also led an intervention in Panama causing widespread death and destruction. Ronal Reagan inflicted misery over El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Grenada through his tyrannical policies, and was involved in the bombing of Lebanon, Libya, and Iran. It is quite apparent, and does not require further elaboration, that every US President has contributed extensively in crimes against humanity.
In addition to the grave crimes committed against population of the world, USA is dangerously maneuvering to close all doors to the forums that might possess even a remote potential of potently questioning the existing global status quo. In spite of the humungous amount of evidence that points towards the criminal role of US in the world, international bodies, like UNO, are silent and ineffective in this “New World Order”. These international bodies, much like many human rights organizations, are themselves controlled and financed by the US businesses and corporations. One of the ways to achieve the goal of unquestioned hegemony is to limit the scope of the international judicial bodies that became a need after the World War II.
Following the bombing of Yugoslavia, which commenced in March1999, a number of international lawyers and organizations filed complaints in the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia against the NATO countries and NATO officials for committing “violations of international humanitarian law”, including “willful killing, willfully causing great suffering and serious injury to body and health, employment of poisonous weapons and other weapons that cause unnecessary suffering, wanton destruction of cities, towns, and villages, unlawful attacks on civilian objects, devastation not necessitated by military objective, attacks on undefended buildings and dwellings, destruction and willful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences”. The complainants also alleged blatant violations of the United Nations Charter, the NATO treaty itself, and Geneva Conventions and the Principles of International Law Recognized by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg. Among the 68 charged in the complaints were William Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Tony Blair, Jean Chertien, and General Wesley Clark.
The complainants met with the court’s Chief Prosecutor, Louis Arbor, and submitted the three heavy volumes of evidence that supported the allegation of war crimes. At a very early stage, complainant began to develop reservations about anything substantial coming of out of their efforts. Doubts about the impartiality of the Tribunal were emerging as Madeline Albright announced that US was the major provider of the funds for the Tribunal and has pledged more money to it.
The pro-NATO bias became lucid as Louis Arbor stated that “I accept the assurances given by the NATO leaders that they intend to conduct their operations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in full compliance with the international humanitarian laws.” In other words, Louis Arbor was asking the complainants to go back home and drop their charges against her employer. Carla Del Ponte of Switzerland, successor of Arbor, adopted same attitude towards the suit. She boldly announced that the “It is very important for this tribunal to assert its authority over any and all authorities to the armed conflict within the former Yugoslavia.” Nevertheless, just four days after she made that statement, another word came out that clarified that “NATO is not under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. There is no formal inquiry into the actions of the NATO during the conflict in Kosovo.” Needless to say, the issue remained dangling as no step was taken to proceed towards its resolution.
Learning from their experience in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, subsequent US governments actively opposed any mechanism that might limit its writ in the international sphere. USA was amongst the only seven nations (along with China, Israel, Iraq, Yemen, Qatar, and Libya) that voted against the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998. With formal attacks launched against Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush administration’s hostility towards ICC also escalated. At present, USA is trying to negotiate “impunity agreements” with states around the world, the aim of which is to exempt US nationals from ICC jurisdiction. Moreover, the Congress passed the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act, which restricted US cooperation with ICC, allowed US President to “use all means necessary and appropriate” to free US citizens detained or imprisoned by ICC, and prohibited US participation in any peacekeeping activity where immunity for US personnel has not been guaranteed by the ICC. Therefore, ICC remains toothless as far as the USA is concerned.
USA intends to leave no cogent peaceful way out for the dissidents of the “New World Order”. There is hardly any room for meaningful and conclusive negotiations or arbitrations. There are no forums which can provide a remedy for the grave crimes committed by the “Super Power”–the Devil. What is then to be expected from dissidents but violence?