Small Wars Journal

International Criminal Disgrace

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 6:38am

International Criminal DisgraceWall Street Journal Editorial

Americans who believe in international institutions often lament that their countrymen don’t appreciate the value of global cooperation. They’d have more credibility with more Americans if they called out anti-American outfits like the International Criminal Court.

Late last week the ICC revived a more than decade-old inquiry into alleged crimes committed by Americans and the Taliban in Afghanistan. It’s a disgraceful example of moral and legal equivalence that equates Islamist insurgents who have killed thousands of Afghan civilians with the U.S., which ousted al Qaeda from Afghanistan, liberated millions of women, and has sacrificed much to rebuild the country.

The ICC came into force in 2002 with a mandate to investigate genocide and other crimes against humanity when a country is unwilling or unable to do so. But once created the institution took on a life and agenda of its own, focusing disproportionately on the U.S. and Israel. The court has produced few convictions, but dictators use it as a tool to prosecute opponents while remaining unscathed themselves. See Sudan’s February announcement that it may turn over former dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The U.S. has never submitted to the court’s jurisdictions. But Afghanistan joined in 2003, and now it’s paying for that mistake. Coming days after Washington struck a deal to negotiate a peace agreement with the Taliban, the ICC’s meddling is an especially unwelcome complication. The Taliban won’t care what the ICC does, but an investigation could smear the elected Afghan government and the U.S…

Read on.