The Obama Administration Inserts Provision Into UN Security Council Measure To Protect Mercenaries From War Crimes Prosecutions

The recent United Nation Security Council decision to freeze the assets of the Gaddafi family was heralded as a high-point of international cooperation to fight authoritarian abuse. What has gotten less press attention is the role of the United States in drafting the resolution. The Obama Administration insisted on adding a provision that barred the punishment of mercenaries for war crimes committed in the country — out of concern that the same principle could be used against U.S. contractors in places like Iraq.

The U.S. move is consistent with President Obama’s policy of the last two years in barring the prosecution of any U.S. officials for ordering or carrying out torture of detainees in violation of a host of international agreements. His Administration has also worked to bar any prosecution of U.S. contractors accused of murdering citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. provision states:

6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State.

In one article, French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud responded to a torrent of criticism over the provisions by explaining

“that’s, that was for one country, it was absolutely necessary for one country to have that considering its parliamentary constraints, and this country we are in. It was a red line for the United States. It was a deal-breaker, and that’s the reason we accepted this text to have the unanimity of the Council.”

Obama’s contribution at this high point of international cooperation is to insert an ignoble provision barring war crimes prosecutions in Libya. We have now come to this. While we once were the leader in war crimes prosecutions, we are now viewed as an enabler of such conduct. What is striking is that none of these individuals — or the victims — are U.S. citizens. While the measure does not prevent prosecution by host nations, it blocks the most likely forum for punishment. The United States has shown how a nation can simply refuse to prosecute individuals who admit to acts that constitute torture or war crimes. Thus, when it allows for mercenaries to “be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction” of their own country, the Obama Administration has already shown how such nations can protect people accused of war crimes and has taken steps to prevent other nations from enforcing international agreements on torture.

We are now viewed as not just hypocritical on human rights, but effectively making war crimes prosecutions as discretionary matter for nations.

In this case, the Obama Administration will guarantee that those mercenaries from Algeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia would not be prosecuted in Libya — the scene of the crimes including gunning down unarmed civilians and other atrocities. It continues a controversial policy of President George W. Bush.

Source: Telegraph

Jonathan Turley

245 thoughts on “The Obama Administration Inserts Provision Into UN Security Council Measure To Protect Mercenaries From War Crimes Prosecutions

  1. @Buddha: It appears to me you do not comprehend that there can be a difference between what is and what should be. It appears to me you believe lawyers should be legally obligated to pretend impartiality to give citizens the illusion of safety, without regard to the fact that this lie puts the citizens in danger. It appears to me you are fully on board with public employees becoming second-class citizens with different rights and obligations of other citizens, even in their private life, even if acting anonymously, and even if some citizen retiree could have done exactly the same thing with impunity.

    It appears to me you are a hypocritical pretentious fool, full of yourself and your imagined superiority, and hostile to the very idea of equality under the law.

  2. It appears to me that you still don’t know what the Hell you are talking about either, sport.

  3. Tony C.,

    So in your world a teacher can write ANYTHING–no matter how hateful, vile, racist, disgusting–on a public blog and never be called to account for it???

    A hypothetical: A teacher writes the following on a public blog: “Black kids are intellectually inferior to white kids and should be placed in separate classes so they don’t slow down the educational progress of superior white children.”

    If you were a school administrator and that came to your attention and parents and children were angry about it, what would you do?

    I’m not talking about politically correct speech.

    A teacher may harbor ill will/prejudice toward and disgust for her students. Unless those feelings/thoughts are expressed no one knows that. Munroe expressed her feelings about her students on her blog and made them public. Parents and students were rightfully upset and let the school district know it. Now it is up to the school district to decide what has to be done in the Natalie Munroe case. As far as I know, Munroe hasn’t been fired yet. Evidently, the school system is being very careful before it comes to a final decision about what is to be done with this teacher.

  4. A Hypothetical: If you were a school administrator and that came to your attention and parents and children were angry about it, what would you do?

    First, if people are angry about it (as I would be) and the teacher is not writing anonymously (I am presuming that is part of the hypothetical) THEN I think this is likely a disruption of the school operations; and I assume it can be argued the teacher has made a public statement “under color of office” and ruined any ability to teach (at that school) without generating controversy and unrest. So (like the Munroe case, which I know is so far just a suspension) I think removal is an acceptable response.

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