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Monday, March 9 2009 - Accountability
War Crimes and Double Standards
George Bush could be next on the war crimes list
March 6, 2009
New Zealand Herald
THE HAGUE -- George W. Bush could one day be the International Criminal Court's next target.
David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said the principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects.
Crane is a former prosecutor of the Sierra Leone tribunal that indicted Liberian President Charles Taylor and put him on trial in The Hague.
Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Programme at Human Rights Watch, said the al-Bashir ruling was likely to fuel discussion about investigations of possible crimes by Bush Administration officials.
Congressional Democrats and other critics have charged that some of the harsh interrogation techniques amounted to torture, a contention that Bush and other officials rejected.
The prospect of the court ever trying Bush is considered extremely remote, however.
The US Government does not recognise the court and the only other way Bush could be investigated is if the Security Council were to order it, something unlikely to happen with Washington a veto-wielding permanent member.
War Crimes and Double StandardsBy Robert Parry
March 8, 2009
New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof—like many of his American colleagues—is applauding the International Criminal Court's arrest order against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for his role in the Darfur conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
In his Thursday column, Kristof describes the plight of an eight-year-old boy named Bakit who blew off his hands picking up a grenade that Kristof suspects was left behind by Bashir's forces operating on the Chad side of the border with Sudan.
"Bakit became, inadvertently, one more casualty of the havoc and brutality that President Bashir has unleashed in Sudan and surrounding countries," Kristof wrote. "So let's applaud the I.C.C.'s arrest warrant, on behalf of children like Bakit who can't."
By all accounts, Kristof is a well-meaning journalist who travels to dangerous parts of the world, like Darfur, to report on human rights crimes. However, he also could be a case study of what's wrong with American journalism.
While Kristof writes movingly about atrocities that can be blamed on Third World despots like Bashir, he won't hold U.S. officials to the same standards.
Most notably, Kristof doesn't call for prosecuting former President George W. Bush for war crimes, despite hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died as a result of Bush's illegal invasion of their country. Many Iraqi children also don't have hands—or legs or homes or parents.
But no one in a position of power in American journalism is demanding that former President Bush join President Bashir in the dock at The Hague.
As for the unpleasant reality that Bush and his top aides authorized torture of "war on terror" detainees, Kristof suggests only a Republican-dominated commission, including people with close ties to the Bush Family and to Bush's first national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
"It could be co-chaired by Brent Scowcroft and John McCain, with its conclusions written by Philip Zelikow, a former aide to Condoleezza Rice who wrote the best-selling report of the 9/11 commission," Kristof wrote in a Jan. 29 column entitled "Putting Torture Behind Us."
Read the rest of this article at In These Times...
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