Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Hague weeps: how the USA have protected themselves from court for war crimes

The Hague weeps: how the USA have protected themselves from court for war crimes

February 15, first Deputy permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, Pyotr Ilyichev has submitted to the Council a list of violations of international law by the US and other Western countries in the conduct of military operations abroad. Despite the extensive list of crimes the Americans and their partners always managed to avoid responsibility in international courts. How is it possible, despite the presence of norms providing responsibility for war crimes, says lawyer Ilya Craft.
Let's agree at once: international crimes are those that fall under international jurisdiction. Are considered crimes against the peace and security of mankind, apartheid, genocide, war crimes.
International law (e.g. the UN Charter) provides for the authorities of any state sovereignty, including the right to exercise the court over its nationals on its territory.
However, things change when it comes to international crimes committed by state authorities or someone under his cover. In this case, come into force the international conventions and courts. Such offenders may be convicted either international courts or international tribunals. Unlike a court, the Tribunal is not functioning on a regular basis and is created for consideration of a number of cases sharing common characteristics (territory, criminals, victims).
Unlike the international court of justice, which acts after the signing of an international Treaty, the Tribunal shall be convened by the resolution of the UN Security Council, which claims and the Statute of the Tribunal. Thus were created the tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

However, according to the UN Charter, the Tribunal could only be established by the unanimous will of the countries - permanent members of the security Council. It is easy to guess that in this situation the USA and the Western allies, members of the security Council, can easily block the creation of any Tribunal, aimed at the investigation of their crimes.
The principal international judicial organ is the international criminal court (ICC) in the Hague, established under the Rome Statute of 1998. The ratifying States recognize the ICC's jurisdiction, and the jurisdiction over him of the crimes committed by nationals or on the territory of these States.
Of the 193 member States of the UN Rome Statute ratified by 121 States. Russia signed the document but has not yet ratified it.
As for the U.S., having joined in 2000, they two years later withdrew its signature under the document, declaring it not relevant to national interests and violate the sovereignty. Since the USA is one of the most vocal opponents of the international court of justice, which brings to naught the possibility of a civil liability of States for committing international crimes.
In addition, the authorities of the States adopted the Law on the protection of American officials abroad, which explicitly prohibits the authorities any cooperation with international courts, in which the United States is not involved. Prohibited the extradition of U.S. citizens on request of the court, conduct investigations on the territory of America. The same law authorizes the use of military force (!) for the release of an American citizen, detained in the territory of another state on a warrant of the international court of justice. De facto American citizens are granted criminal immunity provided as "soft" and "hard" power.
Similarly, include American power and the International court of justice. In 1986, the court found that the US starting a war in Nicaragua, "committed acts that violated the following international legal obligations of States not to interfere in the Affairs of another state, not to use force against another state, not to infringe on the sovereignty of another state". Was recovered huge compensation, but the States refused to pay. As a result, Washington refused to recognize the decisions of the International court of justice.
The government of Yugoslavia also tried unsuccessfully to initiate legal proceedings against US and other NATO countries on charges of genocide. However, the United States upon ratification of the Convention has made a reservation according to which its application "in each case requires the specific consent of the country." No consent of the defendant – not the court for the crime.
In its internal law for the States strictly follow the principle of the primacy of national interests and the secondary norm of international law. Formally, under article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, international Treaty and domestic Federal law have equal legal force.
But there it is clarified that the norms of international law must be made to the legislation of the country by a separate law. And in the case of competition of national and international law applies the act, which was published later. Thus, the American authorities can easily stop the legal effect of any international Treaty, simply issuing a contradicting domestic law.

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