Sunday, October 17, 2021

Trump may stop investigations into civilian abuse in the military. Will anyone be held accountable?

The International Criminal Court says it has no plans to open an investigation into allegations of detainee abuse in Afghanistan, despite having received nearly 5,000 complaints since 2002. The decision came on Thursday as The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump has reportedly expressed the same opinion and that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has privately warned the Justice Department that international legal proceedings are not in the public interest.

Despite the overwhelming and contradictory evidence pointing to Americans mistreating prisoners during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the ICC found that those allegations were not founded, at least not legally. The ICC found that President Barack Obama “contradicted himself repeatedly” when he said, “people that are captured — they’re taken and they’re treated appropriately,” according to a spokesperson for the organization. The lack of evidence, he said, created an “open-ended loophole.”

In early 2017, the State Department sent a report to the UN Security Council opposing the ICC’s jurisdiction, but it did not mention the possibility of an investigation.

The ICC has no jurisdiction over American soldiers and civilians even if they can be found guilty. Most administrations would rather avoid legal proceedings and subject U.S. citizens to domestic prosecutions, which is the case with Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier currently facing charges, despite more than two years of trial.

“The U.S. has all the power in the world but cannot enforce its law,” Shahada Hassanein, a member of an association to support Bergdahl, told The Times. “It’s a contradiction.”

Read the full New York Times story here.

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