July 05, 2004


Those who judge Saddam Hussein must face the wrath of his friends:

Downing Street blasted The Independent yesterday for naming the judge in Saddam’s trial — putting his life at risk.

It accused journalist Robert Fisk of breaking an agreement with the Iraqi Special Tribunal not to identify anyone in the court other than the defendants.

The Daily Telegraph has more:

Iraq's justice minister says that even the life of the trial judge is now under threat after Robert Fisk of the Independent, together with other anti-war newspapers from the Arab world, blithely published his name, having ignored an explicit request not to do so.

(Via reader David P.)

UPDATE. Fisk’s July 1 column:

Now it is time for bread and circuses. Keep the people distracted. Show them Saddam. Remind them what it used to be like. Make them grateful. Make Saddam pay. Show his face once more across the world so that his victims will think about the past, not the present. Charge him. Before the full majesty of Iraq's new "democratic" law. And may George Bush win the next American election.

The column’s headline focusses on an obvious injustice: during Saddam’s trial, there will be "no mention of power cuts". Throats, maybe. But Fisk is more concerned with the present than the past.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 5, 2004 07:13 AM

If it were at all possible, I would administer a beatdown on Mr. Fisk that would surpass anything a bunch of Arab rock-throwers were able to do. This man can no longer claim mere lefty-dogooder-clueless-bumbler status. He is, quite clearly, a malicious criminal, out to do harm in the name of Saddam.

Posted by: Rebecca at July 5, 2004 at 07:30 AM

I agree with Rebecca. How does an animal like Fisk look at himself in a mirror. No words exist to describe this wretch.

Posted by: TedM at July 5, 2004 at 07:57 AM

Not anti-war, just on the other side.

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at July 5, 2004 at 08:00 AM

I think he is guilty of the following:
Criminal Fraud
Obstruction of Justice
Contempt of Court
Conspiracy to Commit Murder
Assisting a Terrorist Act

If he is in Iraq he should be arrested and tried. If he is in the US, UK, or any Coalition nation, he should be extradited to Iraq. If he is in the EU, InterPol should bag him.

Robert Fisk was an annoyance before, now he is a criminal.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at July 5, 2004 at 08:18 AM

If the judge is murdered, would they be able to arrest Fisk as an accessory to murder?

One can hope can't he? :-}

Posted by: Lew Kopp at July 5, 2004 at 08:18 AM

I agree that he has definintely crossed the line this time. Arab newspapers are one thing, some leftist Saddam lover helping the "militants" is another.

Posted by: Rob at July 5, 2004 at 08:21 AM


Dunno if it matters, but Fisk wasn't alone in doing this- some arab media outlets ID's the judge, too.

Posted by: rosignol at July 5, 2004 at 08:23 AM

He is an unlawful enemy combatant

Posted by: Johan Wehtje at July 5, 2004 at 08:41 AM

Fisk wants everything possible in Iraq to be a disaster, the judge being assasinated would quite coolio. The guy's a complete douche that apparently needs another serious beating or two.

Posted by: SleepyInSeattle at July 5, 2004 at 09:01 AM

Mr. Fisk should be thanking the heavens he's not near me tonight. I was already very pissed with Portugal's defeat, and now this? He'd be lucky to have any teeth remaining after a while.

Posted by: madne0 at July 5, 2004 at 09:30 AM

One step too far Fisky boy. He is obviously an enemy of the New Iraq and I personally would love to break my foot off in his arse.

Posted by: Dog at July 5, 2004 at 09:30 AM

Fisk......what a waste of oxygen and food.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at July 5, 2004 at 09:50 AM

Why is this son of a bitch still stealing my oxygen?

Posted by: Ken Summers, Perversion Catalyst at July 5, 2004 at 09:53 AM

Can't have a little justice for the murderer of thousands distract us from an election. If they can defeat George Bush, the death of a judge is a small price to pay.

Fisk is a completely despicable, evil man. His hate may lead to a murder of someone devoted to justice. God damn Fisk to hell, preferably as soon as possible.

Posted by: Jim C. at July 5, 2004 at 09:53 AM

Man.. I really need to get away from politics for a bit. For a moment there I approached the level of the left's hatred for Bush, only directed at Fisk.


Posted by: Dash at July 5, 2004 at 09:56 AM

How did it get past the editor?

Posted by: John Davies at July 5, 2004 at 09:59 AM

Dash, me too. I can't control myself much longer....

I need to get lost in the mountains for a couple years

Posted by: Oktober at July 5, 2004 at 10:04 AM

This reminds me of Fisk's column about the Bali bombing, which he blamed on Australia's involvement in Iraq, and in which he helpfully listed all the other countries even tangetially helping the U.S. Just in case Al-Qaida didn't think, say, Ireland was a deserving target.

I don't think Fisk is so much pro-Saddam or pro-Islamofascist, as so rabidly anti-American that he'll automatically sympathize with anyone opposing the evil Yanks.

Posted by: Damian P. at July 5, 2004 at 10:19 AM

"Let's not have all this bickering about 'oo killed 'oo...."

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at July 5, 2004 at 10:27 AM

When is this filthy fat f*** going to be held accountable for his actions?

Posted by: Hanyu at July 5, 2004 at 10:41 AM

It is interesting to expetience the "Bouts of Anger" that certain leftoids exhibit when challenged about their lies and distortions.
When fisk was accused of deliberately distorting the "Jenin massacre" by a journalist on Irish TV , he flew into an uncontrollable rage turning from the 'intellectual academic" into mount Vesuvius in a instant.
The interview was terminated instantely.
Clinton did the same on BBC panorama.
It's almost like lancing a boil. There is so much puss in fisk's mind, that a small pin prick is all that is required for it to erupt.

Posted by: davo at July 5, 2004 at 10:56 AM

No mention of power cuts! How evil! We all know that every time the electricity goes out five cute Iraqi children fall down dead!

This very afternoon the power went out in my neighborhood. I blame George Bush! (Not the thunder-and-lightning storm that was going on at the time.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 5, 2004 at 11:24 AM

Let's hope that, unlike the silent and invisible US administration in such circumstances, the Iraqi interim government will take some appropriate action, accompanied by high-profile PR to explain it. Expel Fisk and ban anyone from his outfit from covering the tribunal, ditto for the Arab "news" organizations. Such untrustworthy types can make do with press releases, pool reports, and feeds from Iraqiya.

Beyond this -- it is stunning to behold the cluelessness posing as cynicism of Fisk and his ilk, such as the NYT editorial writers. Their main consideration in any Saddam trial seems to be whether/how it might help Bush. Fisk is worse in his preposterous implication that things are being managed with such impact in mind. The "elite" western media now often exhibit the childish fantasies and dim conspiracy fears we've usually associated with Third World observers.

Posted by: IceCold at July 5, 2004 at 11:53 AM

Heh. The Red Cross said Saddam had to be put on trial or set free after the hand over of sovereignty and now Fisk is making it look like an election ploy.

Posted by: drscroogemcduck at July 5, 2004 at 12:11 PM

>>"Let's not have all this bickering about 'oo killed 'oo...."

Hah! Thanks, I needed a chuckle.

Ok back to hating Fisk now.

Posted by: Dash at July 5, 2004 at 12:45 PM

I think Juvenal was probably the Fisk of ancient Rome - suggesting that people are being distracted from the really important issues by trivial matters like having enough to eat.

I read an article about the term 'bread and circuses' lately that went like this:

I wonder how our own mass distractions compare with those of Juvenal's era:

In ancient Rome, muscular men called gladiators (actually slaves from all parts of the empire) fought each other in front of thousands with swords and axes to the death. If they fought savagely and well, the emperor du jour might save the loser with a "thumbs up." Hmm, muscular young men and women (many of whom are the descendants of slaves) contest for our allegiance in a complicated "box" while fighting desperately to overcome opponents and sell beer.

..and on it goes.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at July 5, 2004 at 01:57 PM

May it be that one day we all get to see Robert Fisk eat plastic turkey.

Posted by: Paulm at July 5, 2004 at 02:18 PM

left unsaid in all this is of course his glaring lack of professional ethics. If he agreed to protect the identity beforehand, as it seems he must have, then his paper deserves to be officially--and unofficially cut off--from access to 10 Downing. To say nothing of the Iraqi authorities. The Independant needs to know the cost of this stuff.

I say this as a disgusted reporter at a decent sized NYC paper.

What a cock. He is blinded by his hate.

Posted by: rod at July 5, 2004 at 02:53 PM

As far as I can tell, Robert Fisk has only one worthwhile function to perform on this spinning rock: to be someone against whom we can compare our own Ramsey Clark favorably.

Posted by: Jeffersonian at July 5, 2004 at 03:12 PM

Mr. Fisk, of course, will no longer accept e-mails, neither will the site "robert-fisk.com" forward e-mails to him. That site carries the following information about how to contact Mr. Fisk.

"As from the 12th February, 2004, The Independent carries this information regarding the way to contact Robert Fisk: - "Robert Fisk regrets that he cannot accept e-mails but letters may be sent: C/o Foreign Desk, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS"

Posted by: David L. at July 5, 2004 at 03:55 PM

It might be useful to send the jagoffs who run Robert-Fisk.com a missive or two, just to let them know how the world feels about their idol. They are some sick motherf-----s!

Posted by: Fresh Air at July 5, 2004 at 05:25 PM

They don't care. They thrive on the attention.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 5, 2004 at 05:27 PM

Ummm, did I miss something?

It seems that Fisk did not leak the judge's name. It had been widely reported previously in the Arab press so the cat was out of the bag by the time Fisk mentioned it.

Posted by: bongoman at July 5, 2004 at 07:39 PM

Actually, a quick search of whois.net shows who the admin contact for robert-fisk.com is ;-)

Posted by: Wilbur at July 5, 2004 at 07:59 PM

"Expel Fisk and ban anyone from his outfit from covering the tribunal, ditto for the Arab "news" organizations. Such untrustworthy types can make do with press releases, pool reports, and feeds from Iraqiya."

Absolute minimum, this should be done.

Perhaps they can charge Fisk and the paper for the price of providing a safe house for the judge and his family? Perhaps armed security as well. After the trial, bill Fisk & the Independent for the price of relocating the judge's family if this is needed.

If anything happens to the judge or his family, Fisk & (publishers, editors of) the Independent should be held liable. Maybe even tried for contributing to murder.

What kind of people work at that paper?

I'd write a letter to the editor if I thought it would do any good. I doubt it would do any good so I'm not. The editors at the Independent are Fisk's enablers. They seem as scummy as he does by letting the judge's name get past them.
I don't ever want to read anything published in, or by, the Independent.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at July 5, 2004 at 10:36 PM

..ummm, did I miss something? It seems that Fisk did not leak the judge's name. It had been widely reported previously in the Arab press so the cat was out of the bag by the time Fisk mentioned it...

Yes, bongo, you missed something- again:

(Downing Street) accused journalist Robert Fisk of breaking an agreement with the Iraqi Special Tribunal not to identify anyone in the court other than the defendants.

Fisk broke his agreement. Got it?

Posted by: Byron_the_Aussie at July 5, 2004 at 11:03 PM

He should be arrested by Iraq's authorities, tried, and either sent away with a hefty fine, or imprisoned. That's if everything turns out OK. If the judge is killed, he should stand in the dock with the killers.

Posted by: Sheriff at July 5, 2004 at 11:46 PM

I've going to side with Bongoman on this one.. If, as Fisk claims, "Video showed the face--and audiotape revealed the voice--of Judge Raid Juhi, whose name was widely reported in the Arab press yesterday," then Fisk wasn't revealing something that wasn't already well-known to the bad guys.

Once this kind of news is broken there's no point in pretending it's still a secret.

Fisk is a pro-terrorist asshole, but let's not make him into a free-speech martyr with pointless criticism.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at July 6, 2004 at 03:20 AM

He could be charged with contempt, I suppose, but not much more. As far as I'm aware, it's not a crime to be a mendacious asshole. Unfortunately.

On the other hand, if he wanders back into the Court's jurisdiction, the judge could toss him in a cell without trial, until he satisfies the Court of his genuine contrition.

That could take a while...

Posted by: mojo at July 6, 2004 at 05:56 AM

So... *Fisk* is blinded by hate? And there was me thinking all the above threats against him of censorship/beating/death were motivated by pure love for all humanity.

Posted by: George Bush at July 6, 2004 at 11:11 AM

It's not such a stretch to think that people who are horrified and outraged by a guy who displays his sympathy for a man like Saddam in flimsy rhetoric are motivated by a love of humanity. Of which Fisk has none.

If others had already blown the judge's cover that doesn't give Fisk any reason or excuse to do so himself.

Posted by: Sortelli at July 6, 2004 at 11:45 AM

Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph -- to think that there would be a day when I DEFEND Fisk.

Well, not defend too much -- I still think he's an asshole, and an unwiped one, at that. I am also in full agreement with those folks who wrote earlier that he is bereft of journalistic ethics, and seemingly all other ethics as well.

HOWEVER, if the Arab media had already let the cat out of the bag, then he can't be an accessory to murder. I have no doubt that the al Qaeda boys and their Ba'athist friends will already have known the judge's identity well before their propaganda section(s) report another stunning coup in the western press.

He did, as was noted, violate the request of the Iraqi government. On that basis, even though he wouldn't have the blood of this judge on his hands, I would expect that the new Iraqi government would at LEAST expel ALL purported 'journalists' working for the Independent from their country, never to return.

As for those Arab journalists who DID break the story with the judge's identity, well, I should think that the Iraqis should well look at this as at least contempt of court, and throw them (and their editors, as well) into the hoosegow at least until the conclusion of Saddam's trial. Also, if one hair on hizzoner's head is hurt, then most definitely try them as accomplices.

Posted by: Kirk at July 6, 2004 at 12:33 PM

You know, the "he did it first!" argument is really lame.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 6, 2004 at 01:35 PM

It's not only lame, Andrea, it's childish. Because children generally use it.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at July 6, 2004 at 02:27 PM

Wow, what knee-jerk hysteria over Robert Fisk!

Do you believe in having the kind of judicial system seen in Peru under Alberto Fujimori - judges in balaclavas sentencing people to death, denying people the right to defence and given anonymity to "protect" themselves from public scrutiny?

A fair and open trial that meets international standards requires that we know those involved in the trial so we can bring them to account - lawyers, judges, defendants. Only witnesses are permitted to keep their identity secret. No trial in any democratic country gives anonymity to judges, for it sets a dangerous precedent.

Unless basic conditions are met, the trial will look like a kangaroo court and the fledgling Iraqi judicial system will cease to have respect. It is in the interests of the Iraqi state and the Iraqi people to try Saddam openly and fairly, with full access of the media and the ability to report all aspects of the trial, including the name of the judge. Robert Fisk was doing a great service to Iraqi democracy and justice by revealing the name of the judge in Saddam's trial.

As for being a potential target for terrorists and gangsters, this is a risk every judge anywhere in the world takes and the state - not the media - has a role to protect them. The judges who presided over the trials of IRA terrorists in the UK were not given anonymity, the judges in The Hague are not given anonymity, why should Iraqi judges be given anonymity?

Posted by: Dan at July 6, 2004 at 10:14 PM

The idea that some other outlet violating their word by identifying the judge relieves Fisk (and everybody else) from keeping it just doesn't fly at all and is not normal journalistic practice. I remember in NYC that when certain black media outlets identified the Central Park jogger victim by name, other outlets didn't go along with it.

The time to dissent from a "no identifying" agreement is before you agree to it. The Independent just blew its credibility for anybody considering talking to them anonymously regarding any subject. Their word is worth nothing. They should be ejected from the courtroom, along with every other outlet that violated their word.

That being said, the judge shouldn't be anonymous in the first place. The only reason he needs anonymity is that taking his life is a wartime objective for an international rebel force trying to destabilize Iraq and destroy any chance of a stable, free future for the people. Saddam should have been held for a further amount of time until it was safe to try him without such extraordinary measures.

Let's not forget why Saddam's being tried in such an unsafe environment. France and its lackeys pushed for a fast transfer of sovereignty. The Red Cross said that the US couldn't keep him. And if the Iraqi transitional government kept him without charging him, they'd have been constantly pilloried as an illegitimate, undemocratic tyranny.

The international community outside the Coalition of the Willing forced us to this place where the only practical and humane solution was to ask news outlets that the judge have his identity remain secret for the time being. For their ankle biting and elbow-in-the-ribs obstructionism, they too deserve condemnation. They simultaneously want all the I's dotted and t's crossed without any shortcuts without giving the people doing the actual work the time necessary to set things up right. That's shameful and the end result may be a dead judge. I wonder if Chirac will visit his grave?

Posted by: TM Lutas at July 7, 2004 at 12:29 AM

TM LUTAS: While I agree with some of what you said, I don't recall the Red Cross saying that Saddam should not be kept in custody. I believe a quick transfer of power to a government with legitimacy is something I hope every reasonable person wishes. In fact, a fast transfer of power is the stated objective of the Bush administration, which probably does not wish to be seen as responsible for Iraq's current instability in election year. I think the US election is also behind moves to rush Saddam's trial.

I agree, the transitional government and the current judicial and constitutional set-up is inadequate to try Saddam. If a trial cannot meet international standards of openness and fairness because of the security situation, then it should be held at a time when the country is stable and the judicial and legal system are properly formed, with the backing of a democratic mandate.

Or perhaps Saddam's trial should take place under the auspices of the International Criminal Court, which was set up with the support of some of the US's closest allies (including the UK) to adjudicate over crimes against humanity. Saddam would then be removed from Iraq and his prosecution will not be seen as politically motivated by a US-appointed government. The problem is that the US is seeking to obstruct and undermine the work of the ICC.

Posted by: Dan at July 7, 2004 at 12:55 AM

No, Dan, the problem is that the ICC is now a fundamentally anti-American circus root and branch.

The business with Fisk is just revolting. We won't publish the name of "Kobe's accuser" out of fear that she might be embarassed, or harassed by his fans. Maybe that's legit, maybe not. But to then turn around and cry "freedom of the press!" every time a journalist puts somebody's life at risk, needlessly, simply to sell a product--that's hypocrisy of the lowest sort.

Posted by: Sage McLaughlin at July 7, 2004 at 02:19 AM

Sage said: "the ICC is now a fundamentally anti-American circus root and branch"

How did you come to this absurd conclusion? What has the ICC done that is anti-American? Is Blair anti-American for supporting its creation? Today, the ICC put forward charges against those who hunted, tortured and cannibalised pygmies during the Congo war. Is this anti-American?

Would you advocate anonymity for all judges, to protect them from possible danger? How do you think this would improve the integrity and fairness of your judicial system?

Posted by: Dan at July 7, 2004 at 02:49 AM

Dan -

Did you know that:

- the ICC has no right to trial by jury?
- the ICC has no right to a speedy trial?
- the ICC has judges, prosecutors, and counsel drawn from murderous totalitarian and authoritarian regimes with juridical views completely at odds with Western concepts of law and justice and specifically hateful of America and Americans?
- the ICC allows no appeal of an ICC decision, except to the same ICC court?
- a person convicted under the ICC may be sentenced to prison anywhere in the world the ICC chooses?
- an ICC prosecutor may decide to bring charges against an individual based on NGO's, such as the ACLU, the Environmental Defense Fund?
- if you, as an American, have done NO wrong, and the US system determines you have done no wrong, the ICC can then determine that the US is refusing to prosecute, as it has not returned the "right" decision?

Posted by: J at TAotB at July 7, 2004 at 07:35 AM

No trial by jury? I don't see any jury trying Saddam or Milosevic.

No right to a speedy trial? A trial should not be a speedy process. A trial should be judged by its opennes and fairness.

"The ICC has judges, prosecutors, and counsel drawn from murderous totalitarian and authoritarian regimes"
You don't know what you talking about. Take a look at the state parties to the ICC: http://www.icc-cpi.int/statesparties.html America's traditional "enemies" - Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, North Korea - are not party to the Rome Statute.

The current ICC judges come from Trinidad, France, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Samoa, South Korea, Ireland, Mali, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Ghana, Canada, Bolivia, Finland and Latvia. Hardly the Axis of Evil!

- "if you, as an American, have done NO wrong, and the US system determines you have done no wrong, the ICC can then determine that the US is refusing to prosecute, as it has not returned the "right" decision?"

The ICC system is based on complimentarity, which means it complements national courts and allows them to decide first on the innocence or guilt of its citizens. According to the Rome Statute, national courts "retain jurisdiction to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes." The only time the ICC can directly intervene is when a country is "clearly shielding someone from responsibility for ICC crimes."

Bosnian Serb death squad leaders will no longer have protection from the authorities; the ICC would have the right to call on the UN to put them into custody, over the heads of the Bosnian Serb authorities which approved the ethnic cleansing of Croats and Muslims.

The ICC also has a duty to prosecute terrorists who commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. That means it can order the prosecution of terrorists, even if a government gives them sanctuary. Surely, this is a reason to make the ICC a pillar of the war against terrorism?

Take, for instance, the activities of Sudan-backed militias in Darfur, which are tantamount to ethnic cleansing and genocide. The ICC would be able to bring charges against the militia leaders and those who fund them.

The ICC cannot prosecute crimes committed before its statute came into force, ie on 1 July 2002. So, it cannot be used to grind axes over Vietnam, if that's what America is worried about.

I think the reason why the ICC would have to force a state to give up a citizen accused of crimes against humanity is obvious. The ICC would be able to have the power to indict those who would normally be protected by the notion of national sovereignty: Charles Taylor, Omar Al-Bashir, Interahamwe, Al-Qaeda, etc. Wasn't the Iraq War all about the US breaking with the notion of national self-determination to remove a murderous dictator? The ICC is just putting this into a legal framework. So what is America afraid of?

Posted by: Dan at July 7, 2004 at 09:19 AM

Dan, no one's "afraid" of anything. But the people pushing "let the ICC try all the bad mens" idea are ignoring the fact that there is no such thing as a system of "international law" that would a) give the ICC some actual legal standing, and b) exist as a control to any attempted excesses or overreaching of ICC members/judges/whatever they are called.

Furthermore, the reason there is no international law is because there is no international governing body. Some people seem to be trying to put the United Nations into this role. Pay attention now, because this is important:


The UN is a group of member countries formed to enable representatives of those countries to get together with each other to air out grievances, hash out agreements and treaties, and address areas of mutual concern. Some of this does indeed resemble the actions of an independent governing body, but it is not one yet. Just as agreements and treaties are not immutable laws, but temporary (though perhaps long lasting enough to seem permanent) arrangements based on mutual needs of different, independent governing bodies called nations. The ICC is an offshoot of this sort of thing, and giving it more power than it was designed to handle -- which is what treating it like some sort of official world judicial body with the power to judge any government's actions it pleased is -- is dangerous.

There is more over at Steven Den Beste's site. Just search his website for "international criminal court." Of course, you might not like what you read, but that's not my problem.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 7, 2004 at 02:10 PM

Why would anyone in their right mind support the idea of a one-world government or the one-world justice system that would go along with it ? What good will that do for the world to have a international organization meddling in their internal affairs ? I guess we're headed towards an era where, say, the French government could sue the US Government because they don't like our trade policies or something, basically sue America if the French have an economic depression or something. "Hey, ICC, the United States made us have a depression with their trade policies !!! Can we sue them ?". I think it would be a very scary, dark age for us all. Things like lawsuits where countries sue other countries will be just the beginning. If organizations like the UN and ICC end up any more powerful than they are, who knows what'll happen. Even more frightening because there is no real historical precedent for this.

Posted by: Bob at July 7, 2004 at 04:33 PM

Bob: "What good will that do for the world to have a international organization meddling in their internal affairs?"
The ICC can only prosecute those who have committed crimes in states or who originate from states that have ratified the Rome Statute. Moreover, it can only intervene when a state is "clearly shielding someone from responsibility for ICC crimes." It cannot intervene in the legal process if a state has put those accused of genocide and crimes against humanity on trial.

As Iraq is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the ICC has no power to prosecute those accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. Which is a shame. Instead, what we have is a shoddy kangaroo court with anonymous amateur judges, operating under a legal framework which was dreamed up by a foreign occupation authority just a few weeks ago. It is a shambles that Iraqis could live to regret as it does not meet international standards and sets a bad precedent for the Iraqi judicial system. It would have been far better to make it a matter for the ICC.

Look, just use your common sense. It is pretty obvious that the ICC will be most effective in the case of failed states. The prosecution of those who massacred pygmies in Congo is one example of the ICC's work. The Congolese judicial system is incapable of trying these people - it can barely try petty thieves. As the Congolese government was partly to blame for the genocide, it would be improper to trust it with any prosecution. So, the ICC has intervened in Congo, a state party to the Rome Statute, to try those accused of these grotesque crimes. Would you prevent the ICC from bringing the perpetrators of torture and genocide to justice? What would you have done? Another spurious ad hoc tribunal?

"I guess we're headed towards an era where, say, the French government could sue the US Government because they don't like our trade policies"
We are already there - and it's a good thing too. The World Trade Organisation allows members - like the US and France - to impose trade sanctions when trading rules are breached - unfair subsidies, non-tariff barriers, etc. With every nation having one vote each, it's a hell of a lot better than the UN Security Council. It's not anti-American to have such a system. The US can withdraw from the WTO at any time, but I doubt it would want to as it would then have less power to address the behaviour of the unfair trading practices of other states. The US can now impose on China patenting and copyright laws that China has a habit of breaking. It can successfully appeal against the EU's unfair sugar and banana trading regimes. Is this a bad thing? Is this really about one-world government, or just creating a level playing field?

Andrea: If you want to know what about the limitations, the authority and accountability of the ICC, I recommend going to:

Posted by: Dan at July 7, 2004 at 10:36 PM

The I.C.C.'s required provisions run counter to the basic protections inherent in the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, ratification of the agreement to participate in the I.C.C., if it were to be attempted by the U.S. Congress, would automatically be unConstitutional, and therefore invalid. No one - not even the President (as was left-handedly attempted by Clinton) - can trade away those Constitutional protections without the permission of the U.S. citizenry, nor would we, as U.S. citizens, want them to do so.

There is no particular evidence of which I am aware that the U.S. is making any sort of overt attempt to destroy or impede the I.C.C. - consistent with our national sovereignty, the U.S. government simply has refused to participate in it.

Currently, the body of so-called "international law(s)" is so uncertain and flexible in meaning and interpretation as to make decisions by the I.C.C. rest upon a decidedly shaky foundation. When/if independent nations are able to settle much more clearly upon standards of "international law", the I.C.C. may become more than a nascent oddity with little jurisdiction, and may come to have less inherent contradiction with the U.S.'s basic provisions of sovereignty. Until such time (if it ever comes), the danger in ANY sovereign nation's (not just the U.S.'s) agreement to the I.C.C.'s jurisdiction is obvious beyond any need for elaboration.

Posted by: JB at July 8, 2004 at 04:49 AM

JB: "the body of so-called "international law(s)" is so uncertain and flexible in meaning and interpretation as to make decisions by the I.C.C. rest upon a decidedly shaky foundation"
The laws the ICC adjudicates on are those set down in its statute, specifically relating to crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. It does not arbitrate over other crimes and it does not offer jurisdiction over international law. It cannot trial fraud, ordinary homicide, etc.

Plenty of countries have signed the Rome Statute - including the UK - with no argument over "constitutional protections" and little domestic opposition. The ICC acts in the same way as the ICJ, only it is trying individuals not countries. Has the ICJ led to some sort of one-world-state?

If you want to see what the ICC is trying to achieve, look at the Nuremburg and Tokyo trials and the Rwanda and Yugoslavia tribunals. Now, answer this question: Were these trials wrong?

JB: "There is no particular evidence of which I am aware that the U.S. is making any sort of overt attempt to destroy or impede the ICC"
The US is withholding aid from those state parties that refuse to guarantee immunity from prosecution by the ICC. This is a gross infringement of the sovereignty of these nations and impedes the work of the ICC.

Of course, the US is perfectly in its right not to sign the Rome Statute and does not have to accept its jurisdiction. And it is entitled to have misgivings and voice them. But it should not expect other countries to change their laws for its own satisfaction.

Posted by: Dan at July 8, 2004 at 08:38 AM