USA Sanctioned two Official of ICC

Why to read now ??

The U.S. administration has announced sanctions, including asset freezes and visa bans against two officials of the International Criminal Court 🔗

What’s the Issue ??

  • International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor wants to investigate possible crimes committed between 2003 and 2014, including alleged mass killings of civilians by the Taliban, as well as the alleged torture of prisoners by Afghan authorities and by the U.S. forces and the CIA.
  • The ICC decided to investigate after prosecutors’ preliminary examination in 2017 found reasonable grounds to believe war crimes were committed in Afghanistan and that the ICC has jurisdiction.

Why USA is taking such Extreme Action ??

  • The U.S. has been arguing that since it never ratified the “Rome Statute”, which created the ICC in 1998, it was not subject to its rulings and has also accused the ICC probe of having the dubious objective of maligning the U.S.
  • The latest sanction follows the earlier sanctions imposed by the U.S. on the ICC.

The Rome Statute has been signed by 139 countries and of these only 123 have ratified it through their Parliaments and internal process. Similarly, Russia too withdrew from the statute after having signed it.  The U.S. though had signed the statute has not ratified it. China and India have not even signed the Rome Statute.

How Global Community Response to USA Action ??

  • The U.S. decision has been criticized by the global community and has called for the sanctions to be reversed.

Global Community see it as Blow to global order

  • The U.S.’s action would mark a setback to the international rules-based multilateral order.
    • In the last few years, the U.S. administration has walked out of several UN agencies and international agreements, including the Human Rights Council, UNESCO, the Paris climate change agreement and the Iran nuclear accord.
  • The U.S.’s unilateral sanctions would encourage other regimes accused of war crimes to flout the ICC’s rulings.
    • This could also encourage countries like China to disregard international norms in the South China Sea and other areas.

Sanction Implication

Effect on victims:

  • The decision to sanction officials assisting the ICC will deter victims of violence in Afghanistan from speaking out.

India’s take on the ICC:

  • India’s decision to not sign the Rome statute is based on the following arguments.

Sovereign jurisdiction:

  • India believes in the concept of sovereign jurisdiction within the national territory and fears the ratification could undermine this.

Independence of ICC:

  • The Rome Statute provides the UN Security Council with the power to refer cases to the ICC, the power to block such references. This provision would make the ICC subordinate to the UN Security Council.
  • This calls into question the independence of the ICC and this could as well lead to big power politics in ICC’s functioning.

Violation of existing international laws:

  • The ICC arrogates to itself the right to prosecute matters against countries that aren’t even signatories.
  • The Rome Statute also provides power to the UN Security Council to bind non-States Parties to the ICC; this violates a fundamental principle of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties that no state can be forced to accede to a treaty or be bound by the provisions of a treaty it has not accepted.

Non-inclusion of critical aspects:

  • India objects to the omission of cross-border terror, use of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction from the areas the ICC would institute its investigations.

Possible misuse of provisions:

  • Beyond the above mentioned positions of principle, another aspect of India not wanting to submit to ICC jurisdiction was to avoid a scenario wherein allegations of human rights violations could be used as a pressure point against Indian security and armed forces engaged in combating insurgency and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the North East and earlier Punjab.

Prelims Byte of News 📰

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