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Losing the air of impartiality after 1945 with the horror of wars and the use of atomic bombs to end all wars.

Why the United States Rejects International Criminal Justice: Looking Back at Nuremberg | Global Policy Journal |

    Today is my second happiest day in government.

With these words, Donald Trump's national security advisor, John R. Bolton, hailed the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to abandon its inquiry into possible breaches of international human rights laws in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported on April 12, 2019.

And the "happiest" day of his career, according to Bolton? It occurred 15 years earlier, working for then-president George W. Bush, when he persuaded the US government to withdraw its signature from the Treaty of Rome, which established the International Criminal Court.

The ICC judges in charge of the Afghanistan case considered that such an investigation would not be possible without US cooperation, but the prosecutor of the Court, Gambia's Fatou Bensouda, has stated that she will appeal. Her request includes not only an investigation into Afghanistan but also allegations of torture in the secret prisons of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

Faced with US neoconservatives' uncompromising, blanket rejection ofinternational criminal justice, supporters of the ICC usually invoke the precedent of the Nuremberg Trials. They highlight the active role taken by the United States in the creation of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried the 21 most senior leaders of the Nazi regime between November 1945 and October 1946.

However, the call for a return to American leadership of international criminal justice is based on a problematic historical narrative that doesn't stand up to closer examination.

Invoking the "spirit of Nuremberg"

Two weeks prior to the ICC decision, Chile Eboe-Osuji, the Nigerian judge and president of the ICC, was in Washington, DC, to see one of the last living Nuremberg prosecutors, Benjamin Ferencz (born 1920), receive the Anne Frank Award from the Dutch government.

Eboe-Osuji hailed Ferencz as a tireless American fighter for the cause of international criminal justice. Two days later, he paid a glowing tribute to Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), chief US prosecutor at the main Nuremberg trial, recalling "America's contributions to international criminal justice".

Failure in acting responsibly ...

US Leaders Can Now Be Prosecuted for Illegal War

War is gathering around the world, and autocratic leaders are undermining the legal checks on their discretion to launch attacks abroad. With the rule of law under threat, the International Criminal Court recently defined and activated for prosecution a new crime called the "crime of aggression." The crime of aggression -- leadership responsibility for planning, preparing, initiating or waging illegal war -- has begun to permeate international, regional and national legal systems around the world. But in an age of drones, cyberattacks, insurgents and autocrats, is it too little, too late?

Noah Weisbord -- an associate professor of law at Queen's University and the author of The Crime of Aggression: The Quest for Justice in an Age of Drones, Cyberattacks, Insurgents, and Autocrats -- served on the International Criminal Court's working group that drafted the crime of aggression.

In the exclusive Truthout interview that follows, Weisbord discusses the legacy of the Nuremberg trials and the ways in which Donald Trump may have already violated international law by engaging in crimes of aggression.

Assassination of Qassem Soleimani was a violation of International Law

The US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani on the orders of President Donald Trump was an "immoral action" and a "clear violation of national and international law," according to an editorial in The New York Times.

    "The administration recently announced that, on orders of the president, the United States had `taken out' (which really means `murdered') an important military leader of a country with which we were not at war," the Times article said, which was written by Benjamin Ferencz, a Hungarian-born American lawyer.

    "As a Harvard Law School graduate who has written extensively on the subject, I view such immoral action as a clear violation of national and international law," Ferencz wrote in his op-ed.

    "The public is entitled to know the truth. The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague are all being bypassed. In this cyberspace world, young people everywhere are in mortal danger unless we change the hearts and minds of those who seem to prefer war to law," he added.

    Ferencz, 99, said he "cannot remain silent" anymore over US war crimes.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 17th, 2020 at 01:53:27 PM EST
About Benjamin Ferensc

The Holocaust as a Call to Conscience

In 1945, Ferencz was a 25-year-old American soldier when he was transferred to the army's newly created War Crimes Branch, where he was asked to gather evidence of Nazi atrocities. What he witnessed on this assignment changed him and defined his life's work. He writes:

    Indelibly seared into my memory are the scenes I witnessed while liberating these centers of death and destruction. Camps like Buchenwald, Mauthausen, and Dachau are vividly imprinted in my mind's eye. Even today, when I close my eyes, I witness a deadly vision I can never forget--the crematoria aglow with the fire of burning flesh, the mounds of emaciated corpses stacked like cordwood waiting to be burned. . . . I had peered into Hell.

Ferencz graduated from Harvard Law School in 1943, before he joined the army. After the war, he was asked to join the team of prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials. At age 27, he was the chief prosecutor for the United States in the Einsatzgruppen Case, in which 22 leaders of the Nazi mobile killing units were charged with murdering more than a million people. Using evidence Ferencz had gathered while working for the army's War Crimes Branch, the tribunal convicted all of the defendants and sentenced 13 to death.

Poland cancels Israeli officials' trip over Holocaust property restitution row | Times of Israel |
Yad Vashem invites Polish president to Auschwitz liberation event | JPost |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 17th, 2020 at 02:17:28 PM EST
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'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 17th, 2020 at 03:16:18 PM EST
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