19.05.2022 Feature Article

There Is a Catch-22 Situation Here in the US Joining the International Criminal Court

There Is a Catch-22 Situation Here in the US Joining the International Criminal Court
19.05.2022 LISTEN

On any ordinary day, Somali-born Democratic US Congressional Representative Ms. Ilhan Omar’s name is apt to roil up heated partisan passions and controversy because of her very frank and forthright stance on many issues, ranging from the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, in particular Washington’s widely perceived ideological bias and military support in favor of the Israelis, and the general US foreign policy towards the global Muslim community and the Third World at large. In this particular instance, however, Ms. Omar well appears to be on the side of morally righteous indignation against wanton and what has been widely described as genocidal acts of heinous criminality by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin against the people of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of The Ukraine (See “Rep. Ilhan Omar Said It Would Be ‘Staggeringly Hypocritical for US to Support a War Crimes Investigation into Putin without Joining the International Criminal Court” Business Insider 4/15/22).

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has called his Russian counterpart a “war criminal” who deserves to have the untold and indescribable atrocities that Russian soldiers have allegedly committed in The Ukraine be promptly brought to justice or prosecuted in a legitimately constituted court of law. Presently, the global judicial establishment that is authorized to investigate any atrocities that the Putin-commanded Russian military may have committed in its largely unilateral assault on The Ukraine is the Hague-, Netherlands, based United Nations-sponsored International Criminal Court (ICC). The catch or sticky problem here, though, is that the United States of America is not a member of the International Criminal Court. The decision not to join the ICC is, of course, self-protective and inescapably has to do with the fact that America has its own past of the capricious and wanton perpetration of atrocities against other countries and people around the world that strikingly mirror those of Russia’s President Putin in The Ukraine.

In the past, the US’ argument against membership acquisition of the ICC was that it would unduly subject American soldiers to the capricious whims of ICC judges who may not be positively disposed towards the image and reputation of the proverbial Global Policeman. The obvious logic here, of course, is that what is good for the proverbial goose may not be necessarily good for the gander. On the contrary, for Minnesota’s Ms. Omar, the exact opposite of such logic is incontestable by any stretch of one’s imagination. Which may also pretty much explain why at the time of this writing and press preparation, some key operatives of the Biden Administration were widely reported to be engaged in a fierce debate over the extent to which the United States could become involved in any ICC investigations into alleged Russian atrocities in The Ukraine, and any subsequent decision to impose any court-ordered penalties or sanctions against both President Putin his government.

About a week ago, as of this writing, Ms. Omar, a State of Minnesota Democrat, was reported to have drafted and introduced a legislative resolution calling for the United States to become a member of the International Criminal Court. For some of the reasons highlighted above, it is very unlikely that the Biden Administration would promptly and readily consent to having the United States become a full member and an active participant in the policing and judicial activities of the ICC. So, there is likely to remain an uphill battle on the part of Washington in deciding precisely how feasible it would be vis-à-vis any serious attempt to bring a nuke-armed and globally powerful imperialist dictator like President Putin and his Kremlin cabinet associates to book Adolf Hitler or Nuremberg style. A retaliatory call could very well go out for the ICC to commence with an investigation into any cases of alleged and perceived atrocities and possible crimes against humanity that may have been committed by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the apocalyptic wake of the World Trade Center and Pentagon and Pennsylvania assaults by the Bin Laden-led Al-Qaeda terrorist network, were the United States to become a member of the ICC.

Now, what the preceding means is that any serious attempt to charge and prosecute Vladimir Putin for genocidal crimes against humanity may very well be dependent on the outcome of the so-called Russian “military exercise” in The Ukraine. Which, in effect, is another diplomatic and/or euphemistic way of saying that a smashing defeat of the Putin Forces in The Ukraine is inescapably about the only surefire means of bringing King Putin to his heels or knees. One does not see this happening in any other way, shape or form. Ultimately, and properly speaking, it is still a jungle out there, as we, Americans, are wont to say in our corner of this Global Amazon Forest.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

April 23, 2022

E-mail: [email protected]

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