Pompeo Warns ICC Against Investigating US/Israeli War Crimes

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Pompeo Warns ICC Against Investigating US/Israeli War Crimes

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Since established by the Rome Statute in 2002, the International Criminal Court never held the US, other Western nations, or Israel accountable for high crimes of war and against humanity.

Only their victims were prosecuted, falsely blamed for the highest of high crimes committed against them by the US, NATO, Israel, and their imperial partners.

For nearly two decades, the ICC operated solely as imperial tool — continuing the same agenda today unless it goes another way for justice never pursued before.

It’s hard taking seriously chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announced probes into whether Israel and the US committed war crimes in Occupied Palestine and Afghanistan respectively.

The former probe was announced in December, the latter one in early March — whitewash twice over their likely outcomes if conducted.

Republicans and undemocratic Dems militantly oppose revealing anything that exposes high crimes committed by the state and those of its imperial allies, notably Israel.

Last December, Pompeo slammed the ICC, saying:

“We firmly oppose…any…action that seeks to target Israel unfairly (sic),” adding:

“We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state (sic), and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC (sic).”

Despite a rap sheet of nearly 75 years of high crimes of war, against humanity, and other abuses of international law, Israel was never held accountable — what’s long overdue.

The State of Palestine exists as a PLO-represented UN observer state.

More importantly, the PLO  adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988 — drafted by Law Professor Francis Boyle, its legal advisor at the time.

He explained that Palestinian statehood is “determinative, definitive, and irreversible,” adding:

Palestine satisfies all essential criteria for sovereign independence and full de jure UN membership. 

The Palestine National Council (PNC) as the PLO’s legislative body is empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. 

Bensouda said she’s “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine,” adding:

“There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza” by Israeli forces, evidence indicating they engaged in disproportionate attacks, “willful killing and willfully causing serious injury to body or health…and intentionally directing an attack against objects or persons using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions.”

In response to a proposed ICC investigation of US war crimes in Afghanistan, Pompeo said the Trump regime “will not tolerate…attempts to investigate or prosecute Americans,” adding:

“I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel.”

“If you’re responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan you should not assume that you still have, or will get, a visa or that you will permitted to enter the United States.”

“We’re prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change its course.”

Perhaps the Trump regime will invade or terror-bomb the court and/or assassinate its prosecutors if they dare investigate and pronounce the US or Israel guilty of high crimes the world community knows both countries committed time and again.

In response to Pompeo’s March remarks, an ICC statement said the court “will continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law” — what it never did before so the claim is dubious at best.

In response to Israeli AG Mendelblit’s objection to an ICC investigation of Netanyahu regime war crimes, falsely claiming it has no jurisdiction over Israeli actions, B’Tselem responded as follows:

Mendelblit falsely claimed that there’s no Palestinian state or occupation.

He “conveniently ignor(ed) the facts on the ground, the principles of international law, and the declared positions of the international community,” adding: 

“He glosse(d) over more than 52 years in which Israel has kept the West Bank and Gaza Strip under a cruel, violent occupation regime, transforming the area completely.” 

“Palestinian space is now fragmented into isolated units in which Palestinians live without political rights or any real control over their lives – which are run by various Israeli authorities.”

He also turned reality on its head, claiming Israel and Palestinians negotiate in good faith — what never occurred since Israel’s 1947-48 war of aggression, stealing 78% of historic Palestine.

In June 1967, it took the rest extrajudicially — thereafter seizing Palestinian-owned land dunum by dunum, the process continuing until there’s nothing left but isolated/worthless scrubland, surrounded by Israeli security forces and hostile settlers.

B’Tselem: Israeli regime officials admitted that they do not “view the occupation as temporary and intend to cement control over the Palestinians while dispossessing them of land and rights” — what’s been ongoing since 1947.

Palestinians joined the ICC in 2015. They’re entitled to petition the court to investigate Israeli high crimes too egregious to ignore.

B’Tselem: Throughout Jewish state history, its regimes “enjoyed total immunity regarding its actions in the Occupied Territories.” 

“Domestically, not a single person has paid a significant price for these actions thanks to the almost blanket criminal and civil immunity Israel accords itself.” 

“Internationally, (virtually nothing) has been done to compel Israel to change its policies,” nothing to hold its war criminals accountable for Nuremberg-level high crimes. 

“Instead, (the Jewish state) enjoys generous financial benefits and international legitimacy. Israel is now railing against the prospect of actually being held accountable for some of its crimes.”

B’Tselem’s executive director Hagai El-Ad said the following:

“Israel’s attempt to clutch at formalistic straws to evade the ICC’s jurisdiction is shameful.” 

“Since Palestine joined the Rome Statute, it has the right to demand an investigation into the situation there.” 

“Palestine…is under Israeli occupation, whose crimes the ICC has the jurisdiction – and responsibility – to investigate.” 

“We hope the Court will make the right decision, sustain the (chief) prosecutor’s position, and decide: indeed it has jurisdiction – and there will be an investigation.”

If Bensouda is serious about investigating and holding Israel and the US accountable for their high crimes of war and against humanity, she should pursue her mandate in both cases expeditiously without restraint.

It never happened before and most likely won’t seek accountability and justice ahead  against the US and Israel — no matter how grievous their indisputable high crimes.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.