ICC sanctions show US hypocrisy as human rights defender

By Mu Lu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/13 17:15:52

The White House is seen in Washington, DC, on January 8, 2019, ahead of an address on the government shutdown from US President Donald Trump. Photo: AFP

The US, as a self-claimed human rights defender, has once again shown how hypocritical it is. The Trump administration on Thursday authorized sanctions and visa restrictions against International Criminal Court (ICC) officials in an attempt to strong-arm the court out of an investigation into potential war crimes conducted by US military officers and intelligence officials.

Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the international body said in as early as November 2017 that there was "a reasonable basis to believe" that some members of the US armed forces and the CIA committed "war crimes" in Afghanistan, including torture and rape. Bensouda's request to open an investigation was unanimously approved by the ICC Appeals Chamber in March 2020, CNN reported.

US attacks on the ICC barely echoed internationally. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell called the US move a "matter of serious concern," while Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok voiced support for the ICC and accused the US of bolstering impunity.

By sanctioning the ICC, the US not only infringes human rights, but also seriously undermines the international rule of law, holding back many countries' joint effort to ensure accountability for mass atrocities. The US will further damage its international image while deepening disputes with its allies. 

Although the US pulled out of the Rome Statute, which is the foundation for the ICC, before the court was officially established in July 2002, the ICC now has 123 members, including staunch US allies the UK, France, and Canada, according to an NPR report.  

The ICC is the last hope for victims of atrocity crimes. However, the US has been hindering the international body from upholding justice. The reason is simple: The US government doesn't care about real human rights but rather the so-called justice that meets its own political interests.

The US has played the victim in order to gain legitimacy in its attacks on the ICC. This is an old trick of Washington when it wants to smear anything or anyone that goes against it. 

In the eyes of the US, any organization that goes against it is illegitimate. Such a stance reached its peak after President Donald Trump took office. 

The US has violated international rules and sanctioned others at will, coercing them to act as Washington orders. It has imposed serious threats to world order and security. Washington is so impenitent that people are joking that God will be the next target of sanctions because Washington may deem God has not properly blessed America.

With a hegemonic mind-set, the US believes it is the leader of the world who can order every country and organization to operate at its will. But Washington will find its instruction has fewer and fewer takers.

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