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Dhaka needs to consider withdrawal from Rome Statute of ICC

Published : Wednesday, 17 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 594

Dhaka needs to consider withdrawal from Rome Statute of ICC

Dhaka needs to consider withdrawal from Rome Statute of ICC

The concept of an international court to prosecute political leaders charged with global offenses was initially put forth at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, following World War I. This matter was revisited at a conference in Geneva in 1937, under the patronage of the League of Nations. However, it was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s that numerous European governments rallied around the neocolonial concept of a so-called permanent court to hold perpetrators accountable for the worlds most serious crimes, both terms being defined according to Western standards and interpretations.

In the early 1990s, the United Nations International Law Commission presented a draft statute for an international criminal court to the General Assembly. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established by the Rome Statute of the ICC in 1998, and it commenced proceedings on July 1, 2002, after the Rome Statute was ratified by 60 countries, an act that echoes the revival of Europes Roman neo-imperialism. Currently, 124 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC, including 33 African States, 19 Asia-Pacific States, 19 Eastern European States, 28 Latin American and Caribbean States, and 25 Western European and other States. On March 23, 2010, the incumbent government of Bangladesh endorsed the Rome Statute. This move not only challenges the autonomy of the domestic justice system but also hinders the nations ability to uphold its own judicial principles in the face of genocides and human rights violations.

The Rome Statutes influence is now paving the way for the disassembly of social justice systems, the fundamental pillar of democracy, and its replacement with Western judgment values. The influential, albeit occasionally misguided, intelligentsia of Bangladesh views the activities of the ICC as more effective than local justice systems, thereby shifting the notion of social justice to a European third-party authority. This amusing acceptance of foreign interference in domestic matters offers Western powers the chance to steer a Rome Statute-affiliated government along its prescribed path in the geopolitical landscape.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the former colonial powers of Europe established the European Union, bolstered by US neoliberal policies aimed at unifying Europe against the powerful Russian Federation. The collaboration between the US and Europe has been altering many geopolitical norms since its inception. The ICC has been serving as a tool of Western deterrence, presenting itself as the supreme judicial authority and deflecting natural uprisings against injustices in neo-colonies, under the guise of a "court of last resort".

Essentially, the ICC operates in the interest of Western neo-colonialism. It intervenes when Western opinion and perspective-shaping mechanisms successfully instil the belief that a particular countrys national judicial system is unable or unwilling to prosecute serious offenses.

However, all the powerful nations, including the United States, Russia, and China, have not ratified the Rome Statute and thus do not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC. They contend that the ICC infringes upon their national sovereignty.

The principle of national sovereignty is a fundamental element of the international system. However, the ICC can disrupt this sovereignty by intervening when a state fails or refuses to employ its ational criminal justice apparatuses to address perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

Consider a scenario where the leader of Country A commits genocide (as defined by Western standards, which often overlook acts of genocide such as those committed by Israel), and the local justice system either fails or refuses to prosecute the leader. In such a case, the ICC bypasses the judicial sovereignty of Country A and conducts a trial to punish the perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

Such actions may be globally applauded, particularly by audiences swayed by social media. However, these actions also enable the West to impose its neo-colonial policies on Country A, leading to increased instability and internal conflict. If Western communication channels succeed in creating sufficient mass hysteria and garner global applause, the ICC is viewed as a better alternative to the local judicial system, and the West is hailed as saviours. This not only fuels resentment towards local authorities among the people of Country A but also traps them in the snare of neo-colonialism for an indefinite period.

In the aftermath of World War II, Western media has played a significant role in shaping the narrative of genocide, thereby assisting Western governments in their ongoing neo-colonial pursuits. The ICC is viewed as a positive entity within the Western value-based global order, which is the primary reason for its establishment. However, the tension between the ICC and national sovereignty remains a key issue in international criminal law.

The United States has had a clever relationship with the ICC. The Rome Statute was signed by the U.S. during President Clintons administration, but it was not ratified. In 2002, the George W. Bush administration formally withdrew the U.S. signature, indicating no intention to ratify the agreement. This decision was largely influenced by concerns over potential politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. service members. However, under President Obamas administration, the U.S. rekindled a working relationship with the ICC, albeit as an observer. This policy shift reflects the ongoing U.S. debate about balancing national sovereignty, international obligations as a neo-imperial superpower, and the geopolitical strategy of justice for serious crimes (as defined by Western parameters).

China, on the other hand, has voiced concerns about certain aspects of the definitions of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression listed under the ICCs jurisdiction. Despite these concerns, China has maintained a dialogue with the ICC and has continued to engage in its subsequent developments.It also refrained from ratifying Rome Statute of the ICC.

Moreover, the ICC has been accused of prejudice and Eurocentrism, especially concerning its attention towards African nations, which were once colonies. It is evident that the ICC is swayed by influential Western countries and disproportionately targets African leaders, as the majority of the cases investigated by the ICC are in African nations.

The ICCs selection of cases and trial procedures are deemed unfair due to its geopolitical entanglement with Western neocolonial policies, which is reflected in its slow proceedings, poor management, and ineffective prosecutions.

Russia had signed the Rome Statute but retracted its signature in 2016. As a result, the ICC does not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in Russia. However, revealing itself as a tool of Western geopolitics, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in relation to alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Russia has declared that it does not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the ICC.The ICCs swift response to investigate alleged war crimes in Ukraine in 2022 raised concerns about a double standard and accusations of politicization. Critics argue the Rohingya genocide case in ICC received less urgency.

In contemporary times, it is feasible for Western nations to instigate artificial crises within underdeveloped countries that are grappling with basic human necessities. Modern communication technologies, predominantly owned by the West, possess the capability to manipulate public sentiment and incite intense animosity. Domestic political crises, which are inherently organic, are often exacerbated by external influences backed by superior communication technologies. In such circumstances, destabilization results in death and destruction, which are subsequently magnified to a global audience through a Western narrative of human rights violations. Numerous Western NGOs participate in these amplifications and initiate trials in the media. In alignment with Western neocolonial geopolitical interests, the ICC intervenes in these so-called engineered crises and penalizes the rulers who do not comply with the rules of Western neocolonial interests.

In recent years, Western nations have been increasingly outspoken about the issue of human rights abuses by the government in Bangladesh. Western NGOs and INGOs, often referred to as defenders of human rights, have asserted that they have documented these crimes and have urged Western governments to take action. Consequently, the Rapid Action Battalion was sanctioned by the United States. However, the USs involvement did not stop there. It exerted its influence prior to the last general election, demonstrating a lack of support for the current government. It is evident to the US that the current ruling party of Bangladesh does not align with the USs policy of containing China. Therefore, the US will continue its efforts to effect political change, a prospect that the members of the ruling party leader may find unwise, not only for the potential loss of state power but also for the possibility of being tried both domestically and internationally under the Rome Statute of the ICC, which the law ministry ratified without any geopolitical foresight.

Nonetheless, as the saying goes, it is better late than never. The current government must reconsider its affiliation with the International Criminal Court through a pragmatic and patriotic review, as was always preferred by our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It would be prudent for the nation to withdraw its signature from a neo-imperial, neo-colonial Western instrument like the Rome Statute of the ICC, and instead concentrate on developing social justice systems where threats such as genocide, anti-human, and anti-nature activities can be eradicated from the root.

The writer is the Editor of geopolits.com







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