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December 14, 2004

Jon Kyl On The ICC

There's been a lot of buzz about possible successors to George Bush since Dick Cheney had made no secret of the fact that he's not interested in being heir apparent.

Senator Jon Kyl is one man I don't know much about, but he makes a lot of sense. He has weighed in recently on several topics, and I've found myself nodding in agreement with everything he says.

Today he opines on the subject of the ICC, a bete noir that has aroused particular fear and loathing in me on several occasions:

This week, Congress will send legislation to President Bush denying economic assistance to any foreign government that refuses to protect U.S. troops, government personnel, and civilians from arbitrary arrest and prosecution before the United Nations International Criminal Court (ICC). While nearly 100 nations have signed "non surrender" agreements with the U.S., many refuse to do so.
The United States is not a party to the ICC and does not recognize its jurisdiction. Even so, the court can currently arrest and prosecute our troops and personnel operating in U.N. peacekeeping missions if the host nation is a member of the ICC, accepts its jurisdiction voluntarily, or is directed by the U.N. Security Council.

Senator Kyl's review of the actions of the Clinton and Bush administration's with regard to the ICC is a must-read. I don't say this often, but if you read nothing else today, put down whatever you're doing and read this. His recommendations make a lot of sense:

It is no secret that the majority of U.N. peacekeeping operations are conducted in countries that are non-democratic and whose leaders are hostile to U.S. policies. Leaving our leaders, troops, and personnel vulnerable to arrest and use as political pawns would be a colossal mistake and one the President was right to avoid. But given the likelihood that the United States will be called upon to send troops to future U.N. peacekeeping missions, it is critical that additional steps be taken now to create more concrete and permanent protections.
First, Congress and the Administration should conduct a review of where U.S. troops and personnel are operating as peacekeepers, and determine whether their continued deployment is an appropriate use of our resources in the ongoing war against terrorism. The Administration must insist on "non-surrender" agreements with host countries to prevent any Americans from being turned over to the ICC. No troops or personnel should be committed to any mission without such protection.
Second, Congress must reaffirm its own commitment to protecting American citizens by passing a joint resolution calling on the U.N. Security Council to pass a permanent resolution providing immunity for U.S. troops and government personnel, and if necessary, exercise our veto over any resolution offered that would involve the utilization of U.S. resources.
Such provisions should not be interpreted as placing Americans overseas above the rule of law. The government will continue to hold all of our citizens, including our troops, to the highest standards of accountability. But at the same time we must recognize the unique nature of our position in the world, and the historical tendency of non-democratic leaders to use international institutions purely to score political points against the United States. Ceding criminal authority to an unaccountable and politicized ICC would hardly advance peace and security in today's world.

I've been listening to a lot of nonsense about a McCain candidacy in 2008. This is a man I could possibly support. Someone I'll be keeping my eye on.

Posted by Cassandra at December 14, 2004 08:44 AM

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