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World Court Fights U.S. Executions

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Posted on Jul 16, 2008

The ICJ has been repeatedly dismissed by neoconservatives in the Bush administration who complain that any global legal regime trespasses on U.S. autonomy.

The International Court of Justice on Friday requested the U.S. not execute five death-row inmates in a decision that will put both the U.S.‘s controversial capital punishment policy and its historic rejection of international legal bodies in the global spotlight.

The death row inmates are Mexican nationals who were forbidden assistance by their consulate after they were arrested.

The BBC:

The US has been advised not to execute five Mexican nationals on death row by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The ICJ—the UN’s highest court—had previously ruled that the men had been denied the right to help from their consulate after their arrests.

Mexico says the US has not reviewed the cases—as advised by the ICJ.

The court told the US it should not execute the men before it made its final judgement.

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By cyrena, July 17, 2008 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

By P. T., July 16 at 7:30 pm #

The U.S. needs to abandon its status as a rogue state, stop defying the will of the international community, and join the family of nations.


Well, I certainly couldn’t agree with you more on this P.T.

However, this has been going on for such a long time, (long before Dick Bush even) that it’s going to take some serious reigning in, and a whole new look at the US and it’s overall behavior.

In reality, THIS case, along with only a scattered few of the past decades, are the only ones where the World Court has even stepped in to render an opinion. Regan was successfully prosecuted in the Nicaraguan case, and Hugo Chavez recently won a favorable decision on what he’s called (rightfully so) ‘legal terrorism’ by the US State department. (I can get those details later or you can google if you’re interested).

But overwhelmingly, the US has been getting away with the law breaking for decades, including Willie Clintons unilateral intervention in the Bosnian crises, that was largely US provoked.

Bottom line, the US has wielded it’s geopolitical power for decades, and nobody has really been either willing or able to stop them.

Until somebody does, (and the past 8 years of crimes should be thoroughly prosecuted, probably via tribunals like Nuremberg) I’m not sure how much to hope for in terms of overall behavior change.

I could add that our serious decline in all other respects may instead accomplish that even sooner. But, I wouldn’t bet on it.

I can say that I believe an Obama presidency would bring us back in line with the rule of law, since he is obviously more inclined to embrace it, and has said so on multiple occasions. 

Be that as it may, the healing will only be accomplished when the current thugs are appropriately tried and convicted.

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By P. T., July 16, 2008 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

The U.S. needs to abandon its status as a rogue state, stop defying the will of the international community, and join the family of nations.

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By cyrena, July 16, 2008 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Thanks so much for this excellent essay.. You bring up many excellent points, and hopefully we’ll have time to talk more about it. But for now, just a really quickie, on just a couple of points here…
•  “..Bush and Blair’s crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan dwarf, at least in the number of deaths and displaced persons, the terrible situation in Darfur…  Moreover, the conflict in the Sudan is an internal one, whereas Bush illegally invaded two foreign countries, war crimes under the Nuremberg Standard.”
Many ‘complications’ in the differences here. The reason that the US has gotten away with what they’ve gotten away with so far, (Britain included) is in part what you’ve already suggested. It’s not so much that the Justices in the World Court are afraid to stand up to them as much as it is the political influence that the West exerts over the UN in general, and any charges or anything else that ultimately wide up at the ICJ have to be initiated elsewhere. In other words, the ICJ can’t just decide on its own, to prosecute an individual or country. So, somewhere, someone, (like in this case of whomever it is that has decided to bring a case against Sudan) has to initiate the proceedings. So, that’s part (if not the primary) reason why nothing has yet been done to the US thug regime for their crimes, which are many. But, don’t give up. We’re working on it.
Meantime, the situation in Darfur might be seen as an internal/civil conflict, but in reality, it’s genocide. The Treaty on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, has been largely ineffective in the ‘prevention’ part of the Convention, for exactly that reason. All too often, these genocides are ignored or otherwise misinterpreted as civil conflicts,which makes intervention legally difficult because of the high value that int’l law places on state sovereignty. It’s the biggest and most frustrating component of the whole dilemma in addressing so many of the crimes of genocide.
In short, state sovereignty technically trumps all else in int’l law. This means that an outside party or other state has a heavy burden to prove before it can legitimately intercede on behalf of those who are victims of genocide. If it appears to be a ‘civil conflict’ only, it’s next to impossible to intercede (legally) as a matter of human rights intervention. However, if the atrocities can be identified as genocide, (and the defining language is narrow) then it is theoretically easier. Still, the success rates haven’t been good, and for the most part, the help or intervention has come too late.
The ‘punishment’ goals of the Convention have been slightly more successful, but even at that, it’s very complicated and not so easy to hold a state leader personally accountable for the crimes of genocide. They DID finally ‘get’ Milosevic, but it wasn’t easy.
The same has been the case with Rwanda, and other places where genocide has been allowed to continue, though in the case of Rwanda, tribunals were eventually established.
So, that’s PART of the reason for the differences that we see, and it has less to do with ‘numbers’ of victims than it does with how the crimes are defined.
There’s no doubt that the dick bush thugs are in violation of hundreds of laws, including the very high priority placed on the rights of sovereign states, which are (paradoxically) the same priorities (in international law) that make it so difficult to prevent genocide. (because that crime is almost always an internal conflict) . It’s tragically complicated.

This doesn’t begin to explain how Israel has been able to get away with 40 years of what is essentially the same thing: Genocide. But then again, it kind of does explain it, at least in terms of the conditions that must exist in the language of the onvention/law.

More on that later

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By samosamo, July 16, 2008 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

But we can’t stop executions until w & dick et al have gotten their just desserts.

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By elmysterio, July 16, 2008 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

I believe that any nation state that rejects the ruling of the ICJ and ignores them, should be stripped of the UN membership. If you signed on to the UN, then you must respect the ICJ. Plain and simple.

As well, all the bleating sheep of the right screaming about “Sovereignty” and how the ICJ stomps on that… well I say too frickin bad. Just look at all the lawlessness running rampant by nations like the United States. There has to be an international authority to keep these power-mad psychopaths in check, and that is the ICJ. Now we just need the justices of the ICJ to grow a backbone and stand up to the western imperial powers.

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By hippy pam, July 16, 2008 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

If the ICG truly wants to stop the executions….the ICG should insist “BULLSH*T” BE TRIED AND EXECUTED!!!“shrubs” cronies would HOWL to put an end to it SO THAT HE AND THEY DO NOT GET BUSTED FOR THEIR CRIMES…

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, July 16, 2008 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Little Crimes Get Punished, Big Ones Don’t
War Crimes Paradox


“National Public Radio has been spending much news time on Darfur in Western Sudan where a great deal of human suffering and death are occurring.  The military conflict has been brought on in part by climate change, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Drought is forcing nomads in search of water into areas occupied by other claimants.  No doubt the conflict is tribal and racial as well.  The entire catastrophe is overseen by a government with few resources other than bullets.

Now an International Criminal Court prosecutor wants to bring charges against Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

I have no sympathy for people who make others suffer.  Nevertheless, I wonder at the International Criminal Court’s pick from the assortment of war criminals?  Why al-Bashir?

Is it because Sudan is a powerless state, and the International Criminal Court hasn’t the courage to name George W. Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals?

Bush and Blair’s crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan dwarf, at least in the number of deaths and displaced persons, the terrible situation in Darfur.  The highest estimate of Darfur casualties is 400,000, one-third the number of Iraqis who have died as a result of Bush’s invasion. Moreover, the conflict in the Sudan is an internal one, whereas Bush illegally invaded two foreign countries, war crimes under the Nuremberg Standard. Bush’s war crimes were enabled by the political leaders of the UK, Spain, Canada, and Australia.  The leaders of every member of the “coalition of the willing to commit war crimes” are candidates for the dock.

But of course the Great Moral West does not commit war crimes.  War crimes are charges fobbed off on people demonized by the Western media, such as the Serbian Milosovic and the Sudanese al-Bashir.

Every week the Israeli government evicts Palestinians from their homes, steals their land, and kills Palestinian women and children.  These crimes against humanity have been going on for decades.  Except for a few Israeli human rights organizations, no one complains about it.  Palestinians are defined as “terrorists,” and “terrorists” can be treated inhumanely without complaint.”

Click on URL for the rest of the story:

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By cyrena, July 16, 2008 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

There *is* a God. It’s the ICJ.

And, they’re only just getting going. Dick Bush has committed enough crimes to keep this docket full for the next 2 decades.

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