The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, June 06, 2005

ICC: that US arrogance is strictly bipartisan

The lovely Laura Flanders, the most tiers-mondiste of the Air America presenters that I've heard, had a rant about the counter-measures taken by USG against countries failing to kow-tow on the question of immunity of US persons from International Criminal Court action [1].

This excited my curiosity - and led me, via an absurdly circuitous route, to the legislative foundation for the US stance on the ICC: the American Service Members Protection Act (ASPA).

This was inserted into the defense appropriations bill HR 3338 (107thC) by SA 2336, sponsored by that old warhorse, Jesse Helms, on a roll call vote of 78-21 on December 7 2001.

(A day that won't live in infamy, or even mild shame, I'm very much afraid.)

Amongst the (self-styled) Democratic senators supporting the Helms amendment were leading names like Edwards, Clinton, Kerry and Reid.

The lachrymose Voinovich was joined by GOP colleagues Chafee and Specter on the other side.

Patently, the Helms amendment could not have passed without renegade Dem support. (If one can call the votes of more than half of the Senate Democratic Party renegades, that is.)

An alternative amendment of Chris Dodd's was voted down 48-51. On this occasion, only five usual suspects Dems broke ranks - including the Nebraska Nelson who got some (favourable) press over the weekend.

I am deeply suspicious of the entire project of humanitarian intervention, of which the ICC forms a part: it was, after all, the decision to bomb Kosovo without UN authorisation that provided cover for the Bush preventive war doctrine that saw the invasion of Iraq so far - and who knows where to follow.

I can't greatly object to US attempts to insulate its people from the ICC's operations - though it is of course monstrous that the agreements, like so many entered into with the US, are not reciprocal.

But it's as well to know that the flip-off is entirely bipartisan.

  1. The sourcing of the '35 countries' element of the story is deeply suspect: it's only in the Kenya Standard paper despite the fact that the claim comes from the New York-based Human Rights Watch. And there's nothing (that I can see) on the HRW site.


A 2003 Amnesty International paper on the subject, whilst the URL is to hand.

Also this. Buzz-words are Article 98 agreement and Nethercutt amendment.

That's enough ICC. Ed

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