Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Triple Standards -- The Trickiness of the International Criminal Court and Human Rights

Symbol of the International Criminal Court (Source: teamdarfur.org)

by Lu Tang

edited by Stine Eckert

If I were to write an editorial, I would try to conceive it from a balanced angle. I would put this issue in context to help the readers understand why Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe slammed former President G. W. Bush over human rights and what the responses from the Bush administration were. I would prepare some background knowledge of what happened in the past between these two countries and what reaction to Mugabe’s accusation of Bush is in other countries.

It is true that United States plays double standards on the question of international human rights, sometimes triple standards.

Actually if countries are not satisfied with what the Bush administration did to prisoners of war in the Guantanamo Bay prison, they can sue the United States in the International Criminal Court (IIC), but no one will take this case, because the IIC has a special agreement called the Rome Statute, and the United States did not sign it (other countries which did not sign it either include China, India, and Russia). It means the United States can never be sued for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

Generally speaking, the act that the United States military tortured people in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib prison is not right, but it is not illegal. So you can criticize the U.S. government, but you can never really do anything to prevent it. At the same time, the United States may punish other countries which they think violate human rights and place sanctions on them through its influence on the United Nations while what the other countries can do is only “accuse” the United States of violating human rights.

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