george bush 224.88.
(photo credit: AP)
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has become
a forum for assaulting freedom and the rule of law. It should surprise
no one - and distress anyone who cares about democracy - that a
criminal complaint has been filed against former US president George W.
Bush, vice president Dick Cheney and much of the former US
complaint was filed by a radical professor from the University of
Illinois College of Law, Francis Boyle, whose obsequious appeal to the
ICC's prosecutor expresses "doubt... that the accused would have
inflicted these criminal practices upon 100 white Judeo-Christian men."
Boyle, who has previously argued that the US should stop
illegally occupying Hawaii, that Iran should sue the US to prevent an
attack on its nuclear facilities and sanctions, and that Israel
practices genocide, accuses US officials of extraordinary rendition and
torture, among other things.
The US is not a party to the ICC precisely because political
considerations would make Americans the likely target of absurd attacks
like Boyle's. Ridiculous as it is, however, because the complaint
alleges that illegal acts occurred within nations that are parties to
the ICC, the court's prosecutor could technically consider launching an
investigation and eventually try to assert jurisdiction.
While it is unlikely that the US would ever
extradite American officials to The Hague for trial, one never knows
with the current administration. And either way, it puts former
American officials, who must contemplate, at the very least, whether to
hire legal counsel or to provide any sort of response, in a difficult
The Obama administration has taken a far more sympathetic view
of the ICC and other international bodies that are critical of the US,
while opening the door to possible domestic prosecutions for alleged
torture. Yet, it would be a huge mistake not to condemn the latest
effort to slander America at The Hague - not the least of which is
because Obama is likely to face similar charges someday for the same
"extraordinary rendition" practices.
complaints like Boyle's are an attack on American sovereignty, our
Constitution and the legitimacy of our legal system. The executive
possesses certain constitutional Article II powers as
commander-in-chief to wage war, and no foreign court should pronounce
what the limitations of those powers are.
THE ICC craves credibility and legitimacy, which it cannot get
without some degree of US support. The current administration should
make it crystal clear that if the ICC pursues Bush officials, America
will not cooperate with any investigation and it will preclude any
possibility of future US cooperation or ratification of the Rome
Thus far, the administration, however, has
refused to do so or to publicly speak out against efforts to use the
same tactics against Israel, which has also refused to join the court
due to political fears. The same left-wing post-colonialists who blame
America for the world's ills, have been urging the court to prosecute
Israelis for responding to terrorist attacks with military force in
Gaza last year.
The campaign against Israel, embodied by the UN-sponsored
Goldstone Report and the UK arrest warrant issued for former foreign
minister and current Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, attempts to weaken
Israel where political and military efforts have failed. No accusation
is too bold for these armchair prosecutors to make or fact too
insignificant to ignore in their attempts to isolate and discredit
America and its most important ally.
In the end, this lawfare campaign is most likely to discredit
bodies like the ICC for political and legal overreach, as well as the
individuals attempting to use law as a political sword. At the very
least, hopefully, it will awaken freedom-loving persons everywhere who
believe in the sovereignty of nations and the inherent right of them to
forcibly protect themselves from terrorism. Make no mistake, they are
The writer is an attorney and author in New York City.