2001-2008
Home
Main
- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > World

Shuttle Immunity

1 October 2003

Since last summer, American officials have been fanning out across the globe, attempting to ink bilateral immunity agreements with friendly governments in an effort to undermine the first attempt to create a system to enforce international war crimes law.

The Bush administration’s latest round of arm-twisting exploits a loophole buried deep within the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC). Article 98 of the Statute provides temporary immunity for nations sending peacekeeping troops to trouble-spots. Countries are able to sign side agreements with each other to give blanket immunity while the blue helmets march in. By signing as many of these agreements as possible, America is hoping that it can permanently exempt all of its citizens from war crimes prosecution, anywhere in the world.

The Bush administration’s attempts to remove the US from the court’s jurisdiction show just how deep paranoia runs in the current US government. Bill Clinton bombed Serbia without a UN mandate, blew up a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, launched cruise missiles into Afghanistan (some of which missed, and actually hit Pakistan), levelled the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and destroyed a convoy of civilians in Kosovo. And yet, despite the risk of being hauled into the dock himself, the Killer of Khartoum still signed the Rome Statute just before leaving office “to reaffirm our strong support for international accountability and for bringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”

Under the Bush administration, nations that refuse to sign Article 98 agreements face losing all of their US military aid; also Americans are banned by domestic law from funding or cooperating with the court. It also seems that the US military may be drawing up plans to invade the rogue state where the court is based: the evil Netherlands.

The blusteringly named American Servicemembers’ Protection Act (ASPA), passed last July, authorises the President to use ‘all means necessary and appropriate’ to free any American detained by the court. Just imagine: US Marines landing at The Hague, shooting up Dutch jailers (maybe hitting some Frenchies as an added bonus) and liberating their boys. With luck, they can cruise down the motorway when they’re done for some R ‘n’ R in Amsterdam before heading back to base camp and signing their own bilateral deals with Hollywood producers.

Back in the real world, it’s clear that the United States would never let any of its forces get within a whiff of ICC jurisdiction. And court officials would most likely be too scared to do anything even if a case against Bush or anyone else could be proven. Arguing that a war is illegal is one thing; building a successful genocide prosecution is a whole different ballgame.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free


 ABOUT THE FRIDAY THING
Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

READERS WRITE
"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

© The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved