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CIA Torture: Book the Americans

If ever there is an open-and-shut case for the ICC to raise its stature as a universal upholder of justice, this is it.

(WikiCommons)

Takeaways


  • The US is unwilling to hold its war criminals to account in domestic American courts.
  • American foreign policy never tires of reminding other countries that no one is above international law.
  • The US cannot just make public what went wrong and hope that the international community will forget grave crimes.

As a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture and to the various Geneva Conventions that protect prisoners and obligate occupying militaries to behave humanely, the United States cannot just make public what went wrong and hope that the international community will forget or forgive grave crimes.

President Obama’s unfortunate choice to “look forward as opposed to backwards” on George W. Bush’s law-breaking spree implies that the U.S. executive is unwilling to hold its war criminals to account in domestic American courts.

The onus, therefore, falls on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute the CIA and its allied brutal enforcers from dozens of countries.  It was them who set up a vast meat grinder during President Bush’s war on terrorism.

The New York Times cites an aide of the ICC’s chief prosecutor as commenting that “picking a fight with the United States could be damaging to the court’s standing in the world.” But if ever there is an open-and-shut case for the ICC that will raise its stature as an unbiased and universal upholder of justice, it is this.

American foreign policy never tires of reminding (in fact, often hectoring) other countries that no one should presume to be above international law. It is high time that the prime accuser, whose own litany of crimes has piled up, also stands in the dock.

Editor’s note: This essay also appeared in The Asian Age

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About Sreeram Chaulia

Sreeram Chaulia is dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs in Sonipat, India.

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