International Law and the US Army

The United States has long declined to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) claiming it would trump the US Constitution. In addition to the United States, the following six countries also have declined: China, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Qatar and Israel. What a distinguished group.

Foreigners have long suspected the real reason is that the US just wants to do whatever the hell they please around the world, including within the borders of other sovereign states, without having to be accountable for their possible illegal actions to anyone but to themselves. How convenient.

Given this week’s news about two “minor” screwups in the war of terror, one has to wonder if those foreigners are right.

The first piece of news is regarding the murder of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. An army investigation recommended 17 American soldiers to be charged for murder, conspiracy and negligent homicide of 3 prisoners. Well, the army commanders took the recommendations to heart and decided not to charge ANY of the 17 soldiers. One received a letter of reprimand and one was discharged.

The second piece of news is regarding a German national detained in Guantanamo Bay since 2001. A military tribunal concluded in 2004 that he was in fact a member of Al Qaeda. The decision cited classified intelligence sources. Those classified documents were recently declassified and not only did they not indicate Mr. Kurnaz as a member of Al Qaeda, they pretty much said the exact opposite. So the United States has held this man in custody for close to 4 years now and has known he’s innocent of the charges of being an Al Qaeda member for at least 2 years, but yet somehow he’s still detained at Guantanamo Bay.

Do as we say, not as we do?

As an aside, it appears to be a rather bad thing to be a foreigner accused of crimes in the US or against the US. You have no rights, you’re assumed guilty until proven innocent and if you find yourself wronged by the US, you have no right to appeal or no recourse to get just compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned. What a great “justice” system the US has.


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