'The New York Times' Plays Down Arguments Against the International Criminal Court

August 19th, 2005 11:17 AM

In the article, "Bush Aid Cuts on Court Issue Roil Neighbors," the "New York Times" distorts the true nature of the International Criminal Court and down plays American arguments against it.

To begin, the "Times" mistates the full scope of the jurisdiction of the Court, making it seem far smaller than it actually is, "Three years ago the Bush administration began prodding countries to shield Americans from the fledgling International Criminal Court in The Hague, which was intended to be the first permanent tribunal for prosecuting crimes like genocide." The reality of the matter is that any issue can be brought before the Court by against anyone, even if their country is not a part of the ICC, by anyone for any reason so long as the accuser claims the act is "a crime against humanity." What "crime against humanity" means is never defined by the ICC and has been claimed by many groups to include Camp Gitmo, and over fishing of the world's oceans, none of which are reported by "The Times."

"The Times" also down plays the reality that the ICC would be used just like every other international body as a political propaganda tool against the interests of the United States,

"Others, like Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch, acknowledge that there are countries that may want to use the court "as a political battering ram."

'What's in dispute," said Mr. Dicker, director of international justice for the group, "is what kinds of safeguards are necessary to prevent these kinds of distortions. The United States has adopted a solution that's inimical to the rule of law, that says because we're the most powerful state in the world, we'll create a two-tiered system of justice.'"

And last, out of a two page article, all arguments against the Court are relegated to a few short paragraphs in the middle of the article, and always with the "The Americans are taking this seriously, but even they know it's really silly" caveat,

"George Nethercutt, a former Republican congressman from Washington State whose amendment calling for cuts in economic aid was approved in December, acknowledged that the possibility an American would face charges was small."

Instead, "The Times" has chosen to highlight the "devistation" of a $500,000 cut in aid to Costa Rica, and to insinuate that all the nations that have signed ICC immunity agreements with the United States were basically the victems of intenational extortion,

"Administration officials note that more than 100 immunity agreements have been signed. But supporters of the court say that most have been signed by poor countries heavily dependent on Washington for aid."