Friday, August 30, 2013

Indict him

I'm a bit surprised that I haven't seen anyone talking about referring Bashar Assad (or whoever else people might think is responsible for the recent chemical weapons attack) to the International Criminal Court.

Because of its dysfunctional domestic politics, the U.S. has never ratified the Rome Statute that created the ICC, but America has cooperated with the court in the past (e.g. the Darfur case). Obama only pledged to "change [his] calculus" if Syria used chemical weapons. He didn't promise to bomb Syria (even though that seems to be what everyone assumed he meant). Sure, the GOP would flip its lid because they hate the ICC for their usual paranoid anti-world government reasons. But let's face it, the GOP has been continuously flipping its lid for a while now. One more flip wouldn't make that much of a difference.They're already screaming that the president is an anti-American socialist incompetent criminal who should be impeached. Frankly, there's not much more they can scream if Obama does something else they find offensive. If anything, another lid flipping will just further demonstrate how ineffective a strategy taking every issue to 11 is.

Meanwhile, I'm really surprised that the ICC wasn't floated as an option in yesterday's parliamentary debate in Britain. The UK has ratified the Rome Statute and thus is a full participating member state in the court.

I am still a little skeptical that there is real proof that Assad ordered the attack, although admittedly less so now that the U.S. claims it has intercepted communications proving it came from his regime. But if they have the goods on him, present the evidence in court. Isn't this just what the Court was created to do? The ICC would have jurisdiction if the UN Security Council referred the case to the ICC. There's no reason that the "something" in "we must do something" has to be a military strike.