top of page

American Military Personnel may be Charged in the International Criminal Courts

While Americans are complaining about the elections, and the media is giddy with regards to the impeachment of President Trump, a little known attack is about to occur on our military personnel who served in Afghanistan.

The International Criminal Court, Office of the Prosecutor, located in Hague is attempting to open an investigation into the United States Military and the CIA for crimes beginning in 2003, in Afghanistan. Essentially lumping the United States into the same category of terrorist organizations as that of the Taliban.

The United States government does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC and thus will not be sending lawyers to these hearings. However, there are implications that would require the United States to have legal representation.

Should the ICC decide to open an investigation into the United States military, there could be a trial and a verdict of guilt, a warrant would be placed and our military serviceman would be arrested. Giving the ICC Prosecutor jurisdiction over the US Military would cause them to be targeted abroad.

Currently, despite the United States does not accept any ruling by the ICC, in addition, "The United States will revoke or deny visas to any International Criminal Court (ICC) individuals investigating alleged war crimes by U.S. forces or allies, including in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said. I'm announcing a policy of U.S. visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of U.S. personnel," Pompeo told a news conference in Washington on March 15.

Because the United States is amazing in that it has its own system of military justice as well as a civilian court, there is no need for the International Criminal Court to insert itself into the affairs of the United States military. The United States was asked to enter Afghanistan prior to them becoming members of the ICC.

There is one group representing American interests in the fight against the ICC seeking jurisdiction. The American Center for Law and Justice. Their team of international lawyers is going to Hague to represent the United States Military. As Thann Bennett Director of Government Affairs for the ACLJ describes, "In this way it is very similar to the situation at the U.N. Human Rights Council where the United States is not a member, and rightfully so. We continue to advocate so that the voice of the United States and its interests are represented. The magnitude of the issue is much greater when it comes to the International Criminal Court. Having spent years in these international chambers and tribunals, often the very most effective time to come against efforts to expand jurisdiction is right now, right at the outset before a foothold is gained from which these attacks, in this case on U.S. soldiers, can be gained. These tribunals are always trying to get additional jurisdiction, especially as it comes to the United States."

It is important to note, On 12 April 2019, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II unanimously rejected the request of the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the context of the armed conflict in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The judges decided that an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice. However, the office of the Prosecutor determined to bring the case against the US military again.

On 20 November 2017, the Prosecutor requested authorisation from Pre-Trial Judges to initiate an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in relation to the armed conflict in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since 1 May 2003, as well as regarding similar crimes related to the armed conflict in Afghanistan allegedly committed in the territory of other States Parties to the Rome Statute since 1 July 2002.

The ICC court has jurisdiction over 120 member countries. Countries that are not members include the United States, China, India, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Qatar, and Israel. The ICC has the ability to prosecute for crimes committed in member countries and by citizens of member nations who commit crimes elsewhere.

The Bush administration opposed the ICC claiming it "could bring politically motivated investigations and prosecutions of Americans, such as military officials." However, the Obama administration "had been prepared to support the court’s prosecutions and provide assistance in response to specific requests from the ICC prosecutor and other court officials, consistent with U.S. law, when it is in U.S. national interest to do so."

Currently, there is only one organization representing the United States military, whereas there are several organizations who are supporting the investigation of the Prosecutor. There are however several organizations supporting the ICC. One such group located here in the United States is the International Federation for Human rights.

Should the ICC gain authorization to investigate our military, it will undermine the United States' authority to self govern its own military.

If you want to help: Please go to Jay Sekulow and the ACLJ.

377 views0 comments


bottom of page