Is the ICC MIA?

In what could go down as the most explosive, yet under reported story of the summer, The Independent reported that a prominent human rights group could find no evidence that Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader and despised despot, ordered mass rapes among other shocking crimes during the Libyan protests. According to Amnesty International, there was no proof that Gaddafi used rape as a weapon, African mercenaries or anti-aircraft weapons on protesters. What they did find was that the Libyan rebels had exaggerated or in many cases, such as with the African mercenaries, fabricated the claims entirely.

Nonetheless, on the same day this report was released, the International Criminal Court (ICC) brought up war crimes charges against Gaddafi based on many of these claims. Why is prosecuting Gaddafi for crimes he didn’t commit necessary when there are plenty of offenses he’s committed that can be proved? For that matter, considering the rebels lied about the African mercenaries and were discovered to have imprisoned and killed numerous African migrants, how can their word be seen as trustworthy?

Apparently the African Union (AU) agrees. According to Voice of America News, AU Commissioner Jean Ping said the court is “discriminatory” because it only prosecutes Africans. Everyone awaiting trial happens to be African.

On the other side of the Ocean, the US continues to maneuver its way out of any charges. Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch recommended that charges be brought against high level officials from the Bush administration for authorizing torture. President Obama has insisted on not “looking backwards” and prosecuting anyone from the previous administration despite clear violations of the Geneva Convention. The ICC has followed in lockstep by not pursuing any charges even though human rights groups have been asking for them for years.

If US banks are “too big to fail” than the US government and military industrial complex, specifically, has too many guns to be held accountable. No matter what we do there is very little real push back.

When we revisit Libya, does it strike you as interesting that the rebels we’ve backed haven’t been investigated for any criminal behavior despite evidence that they imprisoned and killed African migrants for pure propaganda purposes? For example, in another civil war in Africa’s Ivory Coast, both the publicly despised leader Laurent Gbagbo and the UN backed Alassane Ouattara were investigated for war crimes despite media coverage that overwhelmingly supported Ouattara. Obviously the difference in the civil war in Libya is the direct US involvement, which might as well be a badge of immunity for the rebels.

What’s more shocking is that in a country that obsesses over the death of Caylee Anthony, no one seemed to care when US forces bombed a preschool for children with down syndrome in Libya on May 1st. While it’s easy to rile the American people up against suspected “insurgents” and other codewords that end up justifying the killing of civilians, it’s a pretty tough sell to say the children with down syndrome need to be eliminated. Yet, the same people that followed a non-national news story trial for one little girl could care less about the lives of many little children, with disabilities to boot, because it was at the hands of our military and thus, kept mostly out of the public eye.

Although it may be easy for the American public to ignore or forget these atrocities, the victims never do. Whether it’s the drone strikes across six countries or the shady business deals in others, many people are waiting for the US to be brought to justice and the obvious venue would seem to be the ICC.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem like the US will have to answer anytime soon. In a sense, we are like a major drug distributor that sits fat while low level dealers and small time competitors get knocked off by the police we have in our back pockets. We can dismiss claims by the Libyan government that the ICC is a tool of the West, seeing how the Libyan government has committed its fair share of crimes, but numbers don’t lie. If those with the most weapons and money can get away with crimes that the prosecuted could only dream of, then what legitimacy does the ICC really have?

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