04 September, 2012

Tutu and Blair -~ The International Criminal Court

Updated 1st August 2017

The refusal of Archbishop Desmond Tutu to attend a conference along with former Prime Minister Tony Blair made headlines -Why I had no choice but to spurn Tony Blair - The Guardian 2nd September.  Tutu went further and argued that Blair and Bush ought to be tried by the International Criminal Court - The Telegraph 2nd September  - Archbishop Tutu - Try Blair for War Crimes.  The actions of Blair and Bush in relation to Iraq will always be controversial and debate continues as to whether the invasion of Iraq (a sovereign State) in 2003 was lawful.  However, this post is not concerned with either the legality or the "morality" of the war but only with the question of the ICC's jurisdiction since trials are only possible where the court has jurisdiction.

The United States of America has not accepted the court's jurisdiction and also Iraq is not a States Party.  The United Kingdom became a States Party on 4th October 2001.  The court only has the jurisdiction granted to it by the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court - see ICC website - jurisdiction and Court's Statute.

The court's jurisdiction:

The Court does not have universal jurisdiction.*  The Court may only exercise jurisdiction if:
  • The accused is a national of a State Party or a State otherwise accepting the jurisdiction of the Court;
  • The crime took place on the territory of a State Party or a State otherwise accepting the jurisdiction of the Court; or
  • The United Nations Security Council has referred the situation to the Prosecutor, irrespective of the nationality of the accused or the location of the crime.

    It would seem that only the first of those points applies to Blair.  Bush would seem to be completely safe from the tentacles of the court.

    Furthermore, the ICC has no power to act in relation to events before 1st July 2002.  Note also the principle of "complementarity."
The crime of aggression is often mentioned as a possible basis for indicting Blair.  As a result of a conference held in Kampala in 2010, the crime of aggression is now defined in Article 8 (bis) of the Statute.

The Court may exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression after 1 January 2017 provided that at least thirty States Parties have ratified the amendments and the ICC Assembly of States Parties has agreed to activate that jurisdiction.  The 30th State Party to ratify was Palestine on 26th June 2016 - see ICC announcement HERE.   The requirement for the ICC Assembly of States Parties to agree to activate the jurisdiction has not yet been achieved - see the article by Dapo Akande at EJIL: Talk! 26th June 2017

When the ICC jurisdiction relating to aggression commences it will not be applied retrospectively.  This appears to rule out jurisdiction relating to any events before 26th June 2016 - the date of the 30th ratification.

* See Ministry of Justice announcement relating to Universal Jurisdiction.  English law now requires the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant may be issued based on universal jurisdiction.  - Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 section 153

List of States Parties

Rome Statute 

Justice Hub - Crime of Aggression


Man on the Village Green said...

Extremely helpful. Thank you.

P.S. Standard drafting practice would be to leave 'bis' ('ter' etc.) out of brackets, i.e. 'Article 8 bis'. The confusion may arise from the fact that in many instances (and especially in EU legislation) 'bis' is translated or rendered in English as (a) : thus 'Article 8(a)'. The Statute of the ICC prefers the Latinate formulation, which certainly has the advantage of avoiding confusion when references are made to it in different languages.

ObiterJ said...

I agree - no brackets !

José M. López Sierra said...

Dear Partner,

Since the United Nations determined in 1960 that colonialism is a crime against humanity, there is no longer a need for plebiscites. The solution is to give Puerto Rico her sovereignty.

But being the United States government does not want to, it continues to advocate the use of plebiscites to find out what Puerto Ricans want. Even if 100% of Puerto Ricans would want to continue being a US colony, Puerto Rico would still be obligated to accept her sovereignty to then decide what she wants to do.

The only thing these plebiscites are good for is to divide Puerto Ricans. A Puerto Rican didn’t invade us to make us a colony. When will we understand that we need to unite?

This is why we must peacefully protest at least 3 times a year until Puerto Rico is decolonized!

José M López Sierra

José M. López Sierra said...

Why does Puerto Rico have a higher voter turnout than USA?

Puerto Ricans have a voter turnout of about 80%. The United States (US) citizens have a voter turnout of about 50%. What accounts for this 30 % disparity? Could it be that Puerto Rican believe in democracy more than US mainland citizens?

Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States since 1898. Since that time, Puerto Ricans who have wanted to decolonize their country have been either assassinated or imprisoned. Many Puerto Ricans are terrified of independence for Puerto Rico as a result of 116 years of repression.

Since colonialism is always for exploitation, there are no opportunities in Puerto Rico for Puerto Ricans. That is why there are now more Puerto Ricans out, than in Puerto Rico. Therefore, Puerto Ricans are desperate to find a political solution to our eternal colonialism!

Most Puerto Ricans believe that decolonization can be achieved through the electoral process. But the electoral process is ultimately under the control of the government of the United States. Since the US government has ignored 33 United Nations resolutions asking it to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico, and it has maintained incarcerated Puerto Rico political prisoner Oscar López Rivera for 33 years despite worldwide support to free him, there should be no doubt that the US government will never allow decolonization via the electoral process. If it were possible to do it that way, we would not have it!

The better way to decolonize is for that 80% of the Puerto Rico voter turnout to instead protest in the streets to demand our inalienable right to self-determination and independence, and insist that the UN do the decolonization in conformity to international law. After all, colonialism is within the jurisdiction of international law and never under national law. That is why it is a crime against humanity to have a colony under international law, but not so under US law.

José M López Sierra

José M. López Sierra said...

¿Deben los criminales estar a cargo de corregir los daños que hicieron?

Los puertorriqueños votan en las elecciones de cada 4 años a un 80% de participación. Puerto Rico ha sido una colonia del gobierno de Estados Unidos (EEUU) por los últimos 116 años. Si las decisiones para Puerto Rico se toman en Washington DC, ¿para qué son las elecciones? Estas elecciones son para engañar al mundo que Puerto Rico es una democracia.

La Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU) declaró el colonialismo un crimen en contra de la humanidad en el 1960. La ONU le ha pedido 33 veces al gobierno de Estados Unidos que descolonice inmediatamente a Puerto Rico. EEUU ha ignorado estas peticiones. EEUU dice que la relación política entre Puerto Rico y Estados Unidos es un asunto domestico que no le compete a la ONU.

Para aparentar que el gobierno de EEUU quiere descolonizar a Puerto Rico, EEUU favorece el uso de plebiscitos para saber lo que quiere los puertorriqueños. ¿No te parece eso suena inocente y democrático? ¿Cuál es el problema?

Para empezar, la comunidad internacional ya tomó juicio y determinó que el colonialismo es ilegal. Por lo tanto, tener como opción en un plebiscito que Puerto Rico continúe siendo una colonia no es posible. Tampoco no es posible tener como una opción que Puerto Rico sea un estado de Estados Unidos. La razón tiene que ver con el comienzo de este artículo. Para tener elecciones libre, el país tiene que ser libre. Para que estos plebiscitos tengan validez internacional, Puerto Rico tiene que ser un país independiente primero.

Lo que la gente tiene que entender es que Puerto Rico es colonia de EEUU porque el gobierno de EEUU lo quiere así. Por eso ha usado el terrorismo de estado para mantenerla. Por eso no quiere excarcelar al prisionero político de 33 años Oscar López Rivera. Y por eso es que es ridículo pensar que la descolonización de Puerto Rico es un asunto interno de EEUU, y que la ONU no tenga jurisdicción en la misma. ¡Si nosotros dejamos que el gobierno de Estados Unidos descolonice a Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico será colonia de EEUU para siempre!

José M López Sierra

José M. López Sierra said...

The Second Oscar – Mandela March in New York City 2015

We will be having our 2nd Oscar – Mandela Protest March on Monday, June 22, 2015. We will start marching peacefully at 9 AM from Hunter College on East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue, to East 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue. We will then go East (turning left) to end up at the Ralph Bunche Park on First Avenue (across from the United Nations).

We will be at the park until 5 PM. We will be giving out flyers and talking to people about who Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is. We will also be educating the public about Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the government of the United States (US).

Most people don’t know that every year, usually on the Monday after Fathers’ Day, the United Nations holds its hearing about the decolonization of Puerto Rico. The petitioners will usually join our protest after this meeting.

The UN determined in 1960 that colonialism is a crime against humanity. Since then, the UN has issued 33 resolutions asking for the US government to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico. The US government has ignored these resolutions. What kind of democracy is that?

The US government tries to keep these hearings a secret. What we are trying to do is to get them out of the closet. The UN is in its 3rd decade trying to make the world colony-free. Please help us!

Most people also don’t know that the United States government takes out 14 times more money than what it invests in Puerto Rico. But, that is what colonies are for!

This savage exploitation impedes Puerto Rico’s ability to provide opportunities for Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico. That is why there are now more Puerto Ricans living away from Puerto Rico than in their homeland.

Oscar López Rivera has been incarcerated for 34 years for his struggle to decolonize Puerto Rico. Since colonialism is an international crime, international law gives Oscar the right to use whatever means necessary to decolonize his homeland. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years for doing the same thing as Oscar. This is why we say, Oscar López Rivera is our Nelson Mandela!

United Partners for Puerto Rico Decolonization invites the public to be part of the tsunami of people that will be necessary to make the US government comply with the UN resolutions. These annual protests in Puerto Rico and at the UN are absolutely necessary, because, those who maintain colonies, don’t believe in justice for all!

José M López Sierra