catapult magazine

catapult magazine


fear and the day's news


Mar 02 2002
01:58 pm

did anyone else hear/read the story about the US government’s criticism of the international courts? it was buried in ads in the front page section of the Chicago Tribune under the headline, “US calls international courts a waste, Official urges they end cases by 2008.” yes, this is the same international court that is currently engaged in trying Milosovic for war crimes, meaning that “the US challenge could strengthen Milosevic’s claims that the UN trials are a highly politicized victor’s justics.”

most disturbing, however, is that “Bush administration officials fear that such courts can infringe on US sovereignty. In particular, they worry that US military officials might one day be put in the dock for alleged crimes committed during overseas deployments.”

well, yeah! we can’t uphold a system of values without being accountable to it ourselves. otherwise, we are hypocrites (a familiar accusation for Christians). so to avoid hypocrisy and save our own butts, the only solution is to tear down the system itself, right? does anyone else find this incredibly disturbing?

the proposed alternative is to allow nations to try their own criminals. are we to expect that an abused third world nation not only has the resources to track down its own offending former dictators (wherever they may be in the world), but that they also will magically possess the necessary infrastructure to guarantee a fair and speedy trial?

perhaps there are inequities and abuses in the international courts, but why not fix them instead of eliminating the last bastion of semi-global accountability? my fear is that eliminating the international courts will allow the US to do (even more freely) what it pleases with no repercussions in our own highly abused national justice system. the international courts also provide a structured way to address global political problems non-violently. strengthening and cleansing this system should be a goal for any citizen not interested in perpetuating military violence.