By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny
The Russian state-funded media outlet Russia Today is hyping a recent interview in which journalist Neil Clark insists arresting former British Prime Minster Tony Blair on war crimes charges is not only the single viable way to keep the already-nebulous concept of international justice from becoming a “farce,” but also a wonderful opportunity for the International Criminal Court to at long last prove to the world it is not the den of racists its track record indicates it is.
The relevant bit from Clark:
The International Criminal Court, the ICC, I think has indicted 36 people so far — all of them are black Africans. They have been accused of being a racist body. Now there’s a chance for them to indict Tony Blair for war crimes. The case is absolutely crystal clear: He led Britain into an illegal war with a sovereign state on deceitful grounds… A million people have died…If Tony Blair isn’t put on trial for war crimes, then who else is going to be put on trial for war crimes? It really makes the whole system of international justice a farce… The ICC is indicting African leaders for crimes that are not on the same scale as Tony Blair’s crime. The Iraq war was the greatest crime of the 21st century.
Whatever the merits of the argument, it is obviously a popular sentiment over at Russia Today:
Of course, as usual, the ICC cheerleading is entirely situational.
Which is to say, go back a mere two weeks in the archives and one can find Russia Today pushing a very different piece by the very same author, who, incensed by ICC lead prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision to investigate potential war crimes by Russia during the war in the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia, then dismissed the ICC as a hopelessly corrupted, utterly irredeemable institution-slash-tool of the West employed “to bully and subdue” any country that doesn’t “toe the Washington line.”
To place an exclamation point on all of this, Clark suggests the Court’s acronym might stand not for “International Criminal Court,” but “Imperialist Crimes Cover-up”(!)
Here’s same Clark, different day:
Putin calls the West’s bluff on fighting ISIS in Syria. Western elite figures are most unhappy. The Empire badly needs to strike a blow at Russia — and right on cue, the issue of ‘war crimes’ in Georgia miraculously comes to the fore! …
Now, it could be that the timing of this is a total coincidence. That it just so happened that over seven years after the events in question, the ICC decided to make a statement on Georgia, in the same week that the Western elites were fuming over Russia out-maneuvering them in Syria and leaving their ‘regime change’ plans for Damascus in tatters…
Isn’t it interesting how the issue of Georgia, the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and war crimes committed in the conflict, has become a ‘hot topic’ in this of all weeks? What was a dead issue has suddenly come alive. Now it’s not just Hoagy Carmichael, but quite a few other people that have Georgia on their minds…
It’s very hard to escape the conclusion that NATO and the West are desperate to use all possible instruments against Russia to ‘punish’ them for having the temerity to drop bombs in Syria — something only NATO powers and its allies believe they have the right to do. If so, it wouldn‘t be anything new.
Seeking to ‘punish’ countries by bringing up events of the past and threatening them with war crimes investigations is something the US and its closest allies have done plenty of times in the past.
Once again Clark sees the taint of racism lurking in the background of ICC operations. This time, however, he doesn’t believe this bias will be ameliorated by prosecuting a non-African state:
The ICC’s plan to investigate the Georgia-Russia conflict is noteworthy given other situations it is currently investigating. All nine of them involve Africa. The ICC has indicted 36 individuals to date — all of them were Africans. Mmm, I wonder if you can see any bias here? The crimes of the individuals the ICC has indicted cannot really be compared to those of Western leaders whose ‘interventions,’ whether directly or indirectly through terrorist proxies, have laid waste to vast swathes of the Middle East — CRIMES which the ICC ignores.
So when the ICC is conducting an investigation into his ideological allies, Clark believes the Court is an aspiring transnational behemoth that metes out selective justice — and he is correct.
Alas, he also appears convinced if the Court were it to start punishing his ideological foes, it would suddenly transform into a noble arbiter of true justice.
This is not a minority view when it come to the ICC and it uncovers the foundational flaw of the Court: Everyone recognizes the ICC is a political entity. They will celebrate the Court when it agrees with them and damn it when it does not.
But neither Clark nor anyone else will ever consider its rulings the final word on any conflict or crime. Its true nature is too obvious.