The United States of America has presented a proposal which dropped like a bombshell in the United Nations Security Council : either the USA is granted immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed by US civilian or military personnel while on peace-keeping missions, or it will not take part in any more peace missions.
This extra-ordinary request follows one last month, in which the US administration tried to force an agreement by which US personnel in East Timor would not be prosecuted in future by the ICC, all the more curious because there is no knowledge of any atrocities committed by US personnel, unless some effort is being made to hide the evidence arising from covert operations.
John Negroponte, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, has presented the latest request for immunity, which has had a dramatic effect: the United Kingdom and France have stated that they will veto the measure because it goes against the grain of norms of international justice. Making it clear that US participation in future peace missions is dependent upon immunity from prosecution for eventual war crimes, the US administration gives a clear indication that everything is not as it should be.
Evidently, after the wanton and gratuitous acts of destruction in the Balkans and now in Afghanistan, where Pravda.Ru registered and printed evidence about sixteen separate acts of “collateral damage” in which hundreds of innocent civilians were massacred, the State Department can see that sooner or later, a case is going to be brought.
The attitude of the USA in this case is all the more surprising because this is the country, which until now has expounded the notion that freedom, democracy and human rights are at the top of its agenda. Claiming immunity from prosecution for war crimes goes against the precept that the notion of justice is universal and not negotiable. If war crimes are committed, then those who perpetrate them should face the consequences of their actions.
That the USA should present this proposal is yet again proof of the skulduggery and treacherous stealth and hypocrisy, which permeates this country’s foreign policy.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru