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I would point out that in the case of the ICC, there are no "powerful authoritarian countries" which are members. See the graphic on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome_Statute_of_the_Internatio.... It's basically just the Commonwealth, the EU, and the Nordic countries.





> It's basically just the Commonwealth, the EU, and the Nordic countries.

That map shows all of South America, parts of Africa that were never part of the Commonwealth, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and...lots of countries that are neither Commonwealth, EU, nor Nordic.


No powerful authoritarian countries except for former authoritarian european colonial powers and their former slave colonies?

You act like "just the commonwealth, the EU and nordic" is anything good. The history of the british empire ( aka the commonwealth ) is as horrible as any in human history. Not anything humanity should be aspiring to. And the ICC represents western european domination of the world. That's something I as an american abhor and reject.

The US should be prosecuting our own war criminals. Unfortunately, we haven't been doing a good job of it. But lets not pretend the ICC or the EU is any better. How many EU war criminals have the EU or ICC prosecuted? None.

Most of humanity ( 70% I think ) has rejected the ICC. The world has spoken regardless of what europeans think or want.


> The US should be prosecuting our own war criminals. Unfortunately, we haven't been doing a good job of it.

That's reason enough to want ICC intervention. You can't just denounce the ICC and then declare in the same post that alternatives aren't going to work. "Nobody holds the US accountable" isn't really an acceptable scenario.


> "Nobody holds the US accountable" isn't really an acceptable scenario.

Get used to disappointment. That is what it means to be on top.

You could rearrange the world so that there was another power to hold the US accountable, but you might then have difficulty holding them accountable.


> How many EU war criminals have the EU or ICC prosecuted?

The ICC has relatively few cases that have proceeded to prosecution, but of those currently under preliminary inquiry, some include EU citizens as potential criminals, and one (the investigation of potential war crimes by UK nationals during the occupation of Iraq) is exclusively focussed on EU citizens, even if the UK may soon separate from the EU.


> That's something I as an american abhor and reject.

The US did more than its fair share of colonial plundering.


"No powerful authoritarian countries except for former authoritarian european colonial powers and their former slave colonies"

What have the slave colonies done?

And any nation that hasn't had colonies, or been authoritarian at some point in their history, has a very short history.

Should we still be judging the Nordic countries based on how the Vikings behaved?

Are you claiming the US to be whiter than white? How many EU war criminals do you think there are to be prosecuted? Do you have any names?


> The US should be prosecuting our own war criminals. Unfortunately, we haven't been doing a good job of it.

That is precisely the point of the ICC: to prosecute individuals who are deemed by the consensus of its member-nations as "war criminals" (where that term has a strict definition—going back to the Geneva convention—that everyone does seem to agree on when it's someone else committing these crimes against them), but where that so-deemed war-criminal's country of citizenship refuses to prosecute them, or to even recognize them as a war criminal.

> How many EU war criminals have the EU or ICC prosecuted? None.

Well, again, the ICC only exists to prosecute cases where the country of citizenship of the accused refuses to prosecute them. The individual EU member-nations have, AFAIK, prosecuted all their own war criminals, so the ICC never had to get involved.

I would also point out that the countries in "the commonwealth, the EU, and the Nordic countries" have the longest combined history of committing war-crimes (all basically against one-another)—and thus also have the most "institutional knowledge" of game-theoretic problems in getting recognized war criminals dealt with by their country-of-citizenship. This set of countries has the most reason to want some sort of moderator that will ensure that they can hold one-another accountable for their future actions (by, essentially, pre-committing to holding themselves accountable for their own future actions, even in cases where their own future governments refuse to be held so accountable.)

The countries that declined membership in the ICC are mostly (by count) the "authoritarian countries" mentioned above. Presumably, they mostly declined membership because they have at least some "war criminals" as citizens who they refuse to prosecute, who the ICC would demand they hand over.

But maybe that's not the whole of the reason. Looking at the largest-by-population countries that declined membership (or later rescinded an existing membership) we have the US, China, Russia, and India. Well, here's the story for Russia:

> Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000. On 14 November 2016 the ICC published a report on its preliminary investigation of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine which found that "the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol factually amounts to an on-going state of occupation" and that "information, such as reported shelling by both States of military positions of the other, and the detention of Russian military personnel by Ukraine, and vice-versa, points to direct military engagement between Russian armed forces and Ukrainian government forces that would suggest the existence of an international armed conflict in the context of armed hostilities in eastern Ukraine". In response, a presidential decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin approved "sending the Secretary General of the United Nations notice of the intention of the Russian Federation to no longer be a party to the Rome Statute". Formal notice was given on 30 November.

In other words, the ICC made an official statement, and that statement was the one that most countries believe, instead of the Russian-propaganda line on the matter. By continuing to be a member after such a statement was given, Russia would be implicitly endorsing those statements, and thus weakening their own propaganda. Thus, they had to rescind their membership, as the first step to painting the ICC as corrupt or confused or whatever is required to patch the hole in the propaganda campaign.

Maybe some of the other, smaller nations saw this sort of thing coming, and this is why they didn't bother with membership in the first place. They didn't want to have to attempt to whitewash the official statements of an organization to which they were a member.

This also makes for a good explanation for China, given their current approach with the, err, "states" touching them.

I'm not sure either explanation fits the US, so much as the US just 1. hates the idea of the Continent telling it what to do, and 2. doesn't want to be interrupted from an active operation by having one of its active assets—who happens to also be a war-criminal—commandeered to face trial. (This seems a uniquely American stance, to me. Most other nations are quick to punish their war-criminal officers, even if doing so is a setback for any active plans of theirs.)


> That is precisely the point of the ICC: to prosecute individuals who are deemed by the consensus of its member-nations as "war criminals"

ICC prosecution decisions are not made by consensus of member states (nor is that the process for referrals to the ICC, only for changes to the Rome Statute.)

> Well, again, the ICC only exists to prosecute cases where the country of citizenship of the accused refuses to prosecute them.

Not technically only refusals, but failures more generally, and not limited to countries of citizenship.


Sorry, I was unclear there. There is no consensus process, per se; each one of the member-nations will independently arrive at a conclusion about who is or is not potentially a war criminal (in the sense of "we should demand they stand trial"), by independently studying the case.

But since all the member-nations have access to the same evidence-base, and are following the same strict definition of what constitutes a "war criminal" (i.e. the Geneva convention), they tend to all arrive at the same preliminary conclusion. If they didn't, that'd actually be cause for alarm. So there isn't that much auditing going on. It's usually pretty freakin' obvious—given the evidence that is introduced along with the nomination—who should or should not be standing before the ICC.

(Presumably, at any time, any delegate from a member-nation can stand before the court and say "What the heck are you guys on? This guy isn't a war criminal at all." I don't think that's ever happened—has it?—but it's not like the organization is yet so venerable and hidebound by tradition that it's unable to veer away from a course once it's on it.)


> Presumably, at any time, any delegate from a member-nation can stand before the court and say "What the heck are you guys on? This guy isn't a war criminal at all."

No, while the Assembly of State Parties oversees the operation of the Court institutions, I can't find any indication that individual members of the Assembly have the privilege to appear before the Court in particular cases that way.

Representing that a defendant is not guilty is a function for defense counsel; the Assembly of State Parties acts essentially as a legislative body.


Oh, I didn't mean during the trial (where, yes, it's the defense council's job); I meant before the trial. Like, "Why are we trying to demand that country X turn over Lord Notsobad? We don't have anything on them."

The ICC has a multilateral "Office of the Prosecutor" to go along with its multilateral court, and that prosecutor, just like any other prosecutor, can be talked down from an indictment, or convinced to drop charges, before the trial begins. I presume that the member-nation delegates can go to the prosecutor, just like city police can go to a regular municipal prosecutor, and say "Hey, why do you think we'll win this? This is silly. Don't charge the guy. Or drop the charges. They won't stick."




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