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Dictators Don't Need Courts– Just Ask Putin

Thursday, November 17, 2016 19:24
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(Before It's News)

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Despite Lindsey Graham's public hissy fit on the matter, we'll probably never know the full extent of Putin's infiltration of the 2016 election, but what we do know is that Putin's puppet candidate is certainly the President-elect of the United States now, even though the other candidate got around 2.2 million more votes than he did– albeit in the wrong states apparently. Putin ever so lightly hacked Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan… maybe Ohio. Or not. In any case, Trump's role model announced he had withdrawn Russia from the International Criminal Court. I checked Trump's twitter feed. It was filled with attacks on the NY Times nothing about the International Criminal Court.

Russia doesn't have an independent judiciary separate from the political system. Authoritarians– Trump included– don't get the concept and don't support the principles behind it. The direct impetus for the withdrawal was the International Court's report on Monday describing Russia's annexation of Crimea as “an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation,” and termed it “an occupation,” which is not Putin's interpretation of Crimea's reunification with Mother Russia– something like the way the western Czechoslavakia (the Sudetenland) was reunited with the German Fatherland in 1938. Since there were no tweets from Trump on this I turned to my second favorite source of news, The Guardian, which reported on Putin's move more extensively than anything in the U.S. pop-media. They also noted the coincidence of timing and how the withdrawal came “a day after the court published a report classifying the Russian annexation of Crimea as an occupation.” They also mentioned that several authoritarian African counties have been as dismissive of the court as Russia. The Russian foreign ministry denounced the Court's work as “one-sided and inefficient” and claimed the court has “failed to live up to hopes of the international community.” According to The Guardian, “the repudiation of the tribunal, though symbolic, is a fresh blow to efforts to establish a global legal order for pursuing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity… The resurgence of nationalist politics, apparent in Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, suggests the tide may be turning against international legal institutions.”


“This is a symbolic gesture of rejection, and says a lot about Russia’s attitude towards international justice and institutions,” said Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch (HRW). “On a practical level it will not make much difference, but it is a statement of direction: it shows that Russia no longer has any intention of ratifying the treaty in future or of cooperating with the court.”

In January, the Russian foreign ministry said it would reconsider its attitude to the court after rulings on the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.

At the time, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said: “Russia stood at the origins of the ICC’s founding, voted for its establishment and has always cooperated with the agency. Russia hoped that the ICC will become an important factor in consolidating the rule of law and stability in international relations.

“Unfortunately, to our mind, this did not happen. In this regard, and in the light of the latest decision, the Russian federation will be forced to fundamentally review its attitude towards the ICC.”

On Tuesday, the court, which is based in The Hague, published a report that recognised the annexation of Crimea as a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and classified it as an occupation.

“According to information received, the situation in the Crimea and Sevastopol is equivalent to the international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian federation,” a preliminary report from the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated.

“The Russian federation employed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the territory of Ukraine without the consent of the government of Ukraine.”

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Russia has insisted that Crimea voluntarily joined Russia after a referendum, but international observers say the referendum was hastily organised, did not meet international standards, and was conducted as Russian troops swept through the peninsula. Having initially denied vehemently that Russian troops were involved in the takeover, Putin later admitted it.

Russia may also be concerned about ICC jurisdiction in Syria, where its forces have been repeatedly accused of carrying out war crimes in recent months. HRW and other organisations have called for the ICC to investigate events in Syria.

The ICC has struggled to obtain widespread international acceptance. The US, India and China as well as most Middle Eastern states have declined to ratify the Rome statute which established the court.

…Speaking on Wednesday at the annual assembly in The Hague of states parties signed up to the Rome Statute, Fatou Bensouda, the court’s chief prosecutor, said she deplored recent withdrawals from the Rome Statute. “Any act that may undermine the global movement towards greater accountability for atrocity crimes and a ruled-based international order in this new century is surely– when objectively viewed– regrettable,” she said.

The ICC’s president, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, who is an Argentinian, said: “The court has continued to do the work for which it was created and has made significant achievements in addressing crimes of concern to the international community as a whole such as the use of child soldiers, sexual violence in conflict, attacks on civilians and the destruction of cultural property.

International criminal justice, she added, is “a long-term project” and should remain a top priority “in order to bring perpetrators of crimes to justice and protect victims across the world equally.”

We're going to take a closer look at monstrous Filipino thug Rodrigo Duterte later tonight, but I should mention that this morning he was quick to announce that he's thinking of withdrawing the Philippines from the International Criminal Court as well. He doesn't like being criticized for the extrajudicial executions that are the hallmark of his miserable career in politics.

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“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis

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