Ex-UN prosecutor: Bush may be next up for International Criminal Court
Stephen C. Webster
An ex-UN prosecutor has said that following the issuance of an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, former US President George W. Bush could — and should — be next on the International Criminal Court’s list.
The former prosecutor’s assessment was echoed in some respect by United Nations General Assembly chief Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, who said America’s military occupation of Iraq has caused over a million deaths and should be probed by the United Nations.
“David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said the principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for [Sudanese President] Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects,” reported the New Zealand Herald.
The indictment of Bashir was a landmark, said Crane, because it paved a route for the court at The Hague to pursue heads of states engaged in criminality.
“Crane also said that the [Bashir] indictment may even be extended to the former president George W. Bush, on the grounds that some officials in terms of his administration engaged in harsh interrogation techniques on terror suspects which mostly amounted to torture,” said Turkish Weekly.
“All pretended justifications notwithstanding, the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations,” Brockmann told the Human Rights Council. “The illegality of the use of force against Iraq cannot be doubted as it runs contrary to the prohibition of the use of force in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter. It sets a number of precedents that we cannot allow to stand.”
The Bush administration boycotted the Human Rights Council. The day Brockmann made his accusations happened to be the first in which the United States had observers at the council, on orders from President Obama.
According to Iranian news network PressTV, the Iranian government called the Bashir indictment “a blow to International justice” and an “insult directed at Muslims.”
Iran’s plainly stated sentiment toward the court’s legitimacy is similar in spirit to that of the United States. Because the US Government has refused to recognize the court by becoming a signatory in its statute, “the only other way Bush could be investigated is if the [UN] Security Council were to order it, something unlikely to happen with Washington a veto-wielding permanent member,” said the Herald.
Due to the International Criminal Court’s lack of any real police force, it has traditionally relied upon signatory states for enforcement of its rulings. But when the leader of one such state is indicted, the court’s authority and enforcement capability is called into question. Even the arrest of Bashir is a far cry, for now. And without a UN Security Council order, former US President Bush would not go on “trial” before the court any time soon.
However, on January 26, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak insisted that the pursuit of Bush and members of his administration for the torture of terror war prisoners is crucial if justice is to be served.
Nowak added that he believes enough evidence exists currently to proceed with the prosecution of Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense who was credited as being highly influential in the crafting and push for America’s invasion of Iraq and the prior administration’s abusive interrogation tactics.