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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Robin Cook is exasperated: he dearly longs for the International Criminal Court to take up investigations into crimes against humanity in Darfur, and is angered by the US’s hostile attitude to the court, which apparently the only problem preventing the ICC’s glorious justice and peace decending upon Darfur.
Hmm, should have done his homework methinks:

The Rome Statute, which created the ICC, gives it the authority to handle genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. But the court can only consider these crimes if it also has jurisdiction over the accused. The Rome Statute requires that those persons be either nationals of a state party to the treaty or people acting there. Sudan hasn't ratified the statute, so the ICC could only hear cases from Darfur that involve non-Sudanese nationals from states recognizing the court - hardly the bulk, one suspects, of the perpetrators.
Yet the UN panel ignored this requirement

The author also rightly criticises the US government’s decision to label events in Darfur as genocide and then do nothing about them.

There are several points missing so far: how is the ICC’s ruling going to be enforced? You know, when domestic courts make a decision they send out the police, so when an international court makes a decision it sends out the . . . international police? Except of course there isn’t one. So short of a US-led military intervention, what options are there really for dealing with the problem? As far as I can see there is only one: withdrawal of uncondtional diplomatic support and the imposition of economic sanctions on Sudan by China. Is that going to happen? Doesn’t look like it, but either way, that has nothing to do with the ICC and US attitudes to transnational institutions, and it makes Cook look a bit like an uberpartisan hack trying to suggest otherwise. If anybody in the West can really be faulted here it is the EU’s desire to export huge amounts of high-tech weaponry to China, and thus not exactly penalise China for supporting the murderous rampage in Darfur.

PS: And am I the only one who thinks Robin Cook’s language is inappropriate for a proper politician:

Under the Conservatives, Britain had been a backmarker in negotiations to set up such a court. After the change of regime

Or election as changes of Government are normally referred to in this country. Surely Robin Cook has been better known for opposing regime change, if memory serves correctly.
And then there’s this debasement of language:

For the past four years, the Bush administration has pursued a relentless pogromagainst the court.

Pogrom? You mean lynchings, beatings, burning down of homes and hundreds of dead? And a relentless one at that! Sounds like almost like another Holocaust. Evil Bush. Actaully I have to admit, I hadn’t noticed on the news that out of control mobs were aussaulting the staff and buildings of the ICC. But perhaps Cook has access to some sort of secret information on the issue, so I don’t want to be too judgemental.

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