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The limits of global legalism.

The African Union has decided not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, which has indicted Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity. The African Union has 53 members, 30 of which are parties of the ICC. These 30 states have therefore effectively announced that they will not comply with their treaty obligation to arrest al-Bashir and extradite him to The Hague.

It is increasingly clear that the ICC, like every utopian international institution that preceded it, will not accomplish its mission—to bring international justice to places like Sudan where a genocide is taking place. It is rapidly being downgraded to a development institution, one that can provide legal and judicial capacity to states that request its help in battles with insurgencies, such as Uganda and the Central African Republic.

Yet at the same time, international criminal law is coming down like a juggernaut on Israel. Israeli officials increasingly fear that they will be hauled off to court if they enter a European country. European governments and judiciaries are taking note of claims that Israeli soldiers and leaders committed war crimes in Gaza and elsewhere. (Yet Spain is junking its universal jurisdiction statute, partly because of Israeli pressure.)

Israelis should consider the Sudan example and think about their problem in simpler terms. Their actions have offended people in Europe and so these European countries are issuing what might be called contingent sanctions against Israelis who have used too much violence, in European eyes, against Palestinians. Sudan is in a similar position, but it has plenty of friends in Africa. Israeli officials need to work on their diplomatic relationships with European countries, reduce their use of violence in conflicts against Palestinians, or accustom themselves to taking their vacations elsewhere.

Doc Merlin:
No, no... sigh.
As my father explained to me, you miss the point entirely, the way you "win" at international diplomacy in large institutions like the UN or ICC, etc is to pay off a lot of Small African heads of government/state or diplomats, its not hard, as he explained, a few blondes and some expensive champaign go a long way.

However to win in europe you need to put pressure on the western european governments and say mean things about them or threaten them economically.

If Israel wants to "win" it needs to bribe some of the smaller non-islamic state's diplomats to see things their way, and bully some of the western european governments to do the same. They seem to be doing exactly this, so I predict that the ICC won't bother Israel until europe becomes a lot more Islamic than it is now.
7.3.2009 3:45pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
So what's Plan B for arresting al-Bashir?
7.3.2009 3:52pm
martinned (mail) (www):

They seem to be doing exactly this, so I predict that the ICC won't bother Israel until europe becomes a lot more Islamic than it is now.

There was a recent Amnesty rapport about the Gaza war of last January, but I'm not aware of any investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor. Does anybody know if such an investigation exists? As long as it doesn't, going from Sudan to Israel is a bit premature.

(Just off the top of my head, such an investigation would be difficult not only because it is far from clear whether anything illegal occurred, but also whether the ICC even has jurisdiction over any violation. I think the answer on both counts is: Probably not.)
7.3.2009 3:59pm
Ken Arromdee:
Israeli officials need to work on their diplomatic relationships with European countries, reduce their use of violence in conflicts against Palestinians, or accustom themselves to taking their vacations elsewhere.

I think a simpler and easier solution would be to discover oil in Israel.
7.3.2009 4:17pm
Oren:

I think a simpler and easier solution would be to discover oil in Israel.

40 years in the desert to find the only damned country in the area with no oil. Golda was right, God shafted us on that one.
7.3.2009 4:25pm
martinned (mail) (www):

I think a simpler and easier solution would be to discover oil in Israel.

That would certainly do it, but unfortunately not even God could find oil in Israel.
7.3.2009 4:25pm
Kirk:
So what's Plan B for arresting al-Bashir?
I'd vote for process service via JDAM, but no one seems to like that idea whenever I suggest it.
7.3.2009 4:28pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Oren,

I believe your post is a quotation from Golda Meir, no?
7.3.2009 4:48pm
one of many:
So what's Plan B for arresting al-Bashir?


wait for him to get sick and go to France or Spain fpor medical treatement then hope he goes before a non-sympathetic judge who won't set him free.
7.3.2009 4:53pm
one of many:

There was a recent Amnesty rapport about the Gaza war of last January, but I'm not aware of any investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor. Does anybody know if such an investigation exists? As long as it doesn't, going from Sudan to Israel is a bit premature.

Last I heard the investigation was still in the determination of jurisdiction phase, primarily if Palestine is a state. I have heard nothing about a final determination, so I assume that yes, there is an ICC investigation of Israel going on.
7.3.2009 5:08pm
Gonzer Maven (mail):

I think a simpler and easier solution would be to discover oil in Israel


Actually, Israel did "discover" oil in southern Sinai, which for a while made it energy independent. So what did the Israelis do? They made "peace" with Egypt and gave Sinai back. What did it get them? A state of icy non-belligerency at best, punctuated by occasional acts of terrorism originating in Egypt, plus wholesale smuggling of arms and explosives to the Gaza terrorists.

Like the man said: No good deed shall go unpunished.
7.3.2009 5:12pm
Cornellian (mail):

40 years in the desert to find the only damned country in the area with no oil. Golda was right, God shafted us on that one.


Egypt, Jordan and Syria don't have any real oil reserves either. It's all Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and a few emirates.
7.3.2009 5:54pm
Cornellian (mail):
The African Union has decided not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, which has indicted Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity. The African Union has 53 members, 30 of which are parties of the ICC. These 30 states have therefore effectively announced that they will not comply with their treaty obligation to arrest al-Bashir and extradite him to The Hague.

If they didn't want to comply they shouldn't have signed up in the first place.
7.3.2009 5:55pm
Cornellian (mail):
As my father explained to me, you miss the point entirely, the way you "win" at international diplomacy in large institutions like the UN or ICC, etc is to pay off a lot of Small African heads of government/state or diplomats, its not hard, as he explained, a few blondes and some expensive champaign go a long way.

Sure makes the job of president of a small African country seem like nice work if you can get it. Stash away a few billion over the course of a term or two and you're set to retire in Paris at the age of 40. Can't imagine why so many of them seem to prefer to die in office.
7.3.2009 5:57pm
Borealis (mail):
The Israelis could just lob a dozen missles into Paris every day. That doesn't seem to violate any international human right laws.
7.3.2009 9:00pm
wm13:
If they didn't want to comply they shouldn't have signed up in the first place.

This seems like a deliberate slap at all French diplomacy since 1415. Or else a racist attempt to deny African countries the same diplomatic freedom that certain European countries have enjoyed for the past 600 years.
7.3.2009 10:54pm
Borris (mail):

The Israelis could just lob a dozen missles into Paris every day. That doesn't seem to violate any international human right laws.


No no no.
You are looking at human rights like everyone plays by the same set of objective rules. They don't.
You have to look at it through the lens of Marxism.

You have two classes of people: victims and oppressors.
If you are defined as an "oppressor" NOTHING you do is right.
However, if you are defined or can pretend to be a victim ANYTHING you do is good.

So, victim Palestinians blowing up children and lobbing rockets in to cities --> good
Oppressor Jews defending children or lobbing rockets in to cities (e.g., Paris) --> bad
7.4.2009 1:07am
Marxism is anything these days?:

No no no.
You are looking at human rights like everyone plays by the same set of objective rules. They don't.
You have to look at it through the lens of Marxism.

You have two classes of people: victims and oppressors.
If you are defined as an "oppressor" NOTHING you do is right.
However, if you are defined or can pretend to be a victim ANYTHING you do is good.

Hate to be the nitpicker here, but that's nearly exactly the opposite of Marxism. The view you're describing is indeed held by a leftist ideology popular in academia, but it's more along the lines of the critical theory / cultural studies / postcolonial studies crowd. Marxists, at least orthodox Marxists, despise them almost as much as conservatives do.
7.4.2009 5:11am
one of many:
Huh, it's the opposite of Communism as described by Marx, but Marxism is not the same thing. I would agree that Marxism is a bad word for the victim/oppressor dynamic - liberation theory is the better term - but liberation theory is part of Marxism. You would have to discard Marx's writings about the nature of and necessity of revolution (The Communist Manifesto would be good to start your discards) to make this the opposite of Marxism.
7.4.2009 11:59am
JB:
The OP is what I've been saying for a long time: Israel's long-term security requires more of the West on its side, either to give it legalistic cover or allies should the shit hit the fan and state-controlled armies start rolling worldwide.

Also, marxism is not what Karl Marx wrote, it's what people calling themelves marxists say. Just like Muhammad would be horrified to see the tactics of Al Qaeda and Hamas, and Jesus would have strong words for many Christian leaders in this country (and Adam Smith would slap a lot of economists upside the head with his Invisible Hand). Not to equate Marx or Smith with any kind of divine figure, but the founders of movements have a lot less influence over the movement's direction than their sucessors do.
7.4.2009 1:53pm
Marxism is anything these days?:

Also, marxism is not what Karl Marx wrote, it's what people calling themelves marxists say.

That's true, but the sort of cultural relativism in which actions are judged differently if they're done by people in different identity groups isn't popular even among modern-day Marxists. You could perhaps ascribe it to a minority of 1950s and 60s Marxists, like Marcuse, but they were never the dominant strain of Marxism even then, and were opposed by more orthodox Marxists like Althusser. And the prominent Marxists today, like Alain Badiou, mainly promote universalist ethics.
7.4.2009 3:41pm
Childermass:
My understanding of the ICC is that even if the African countries agreed to proceed with the warrant, they could not arrest Bashir because as a sitting head of state, he would need to acquiesce to his own arrest. Maybe the states should have agreed to follow through with the ICC on the unlikelihood that Bashir does want to arrest himself should he travel, but ultimately, it doesn't change the outcome. He wasn't going to be arrested under the warrant anyway.
7.5.2009 12:54am
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Gonzer Maven - "Like the man said: No good deed shall go unpunished." Actually, it was a woman, Claire Booth Luce. Remarkably prescient, isn't it?

Yes, I suppose we will always have to talk about what it is wise for the Israelis to do diplomatically, but I do wish we could spend at least a few moments on what the Palestinians might do, seeing that they have made no good faith effort to do anything for peace lo these many decades.
7.6.2009 4:08pm
ICC Observer (mail):
Eric: An incredibly superficial reading (and, at least, incorrect on one point, e.g. Botswana) of the news. But it fits with your view of the ICC, so you'll promote the meme of ICC as a "development institution," I guess, if it suits you. There probably are some interesting issues vis-a-vis the AU and Israel situations; pity that you don't make any of them.
7.6.2009 11:03pm
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7.10.2009 4:57am

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