A Texas lawmaker has drafted a bill that would ban the United States from participating in the newly formed International Criminal Court.
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is set to introduce “The American Servicemember and Citizen Protection Act of 2002,” which he said “repudiates ICC jurisdiction over American citizens.” The bill essentially provides that “the International Criminal Court is not valid with respect to the United States,” said a draft copy obtained by WorldNetDaily.
Paul said his bill seeks to protect “American citizens against the ICC by urging President Bush to rescind the foolish Clinton administration signature of the ICC treaty.” It would also ban “the use of U.S. taxpayer funds for the court, and deems ICC actions against U.S. servicemen acts of aggression against America,” said a statement issued by Paul’s office.
“The ICC is completely illegitimate, even under the U.N.’s own charter,” Paul said.
“We characterize this legislation as a counteroffensive at this point,” Jeff Deist, a spokesman for Paul, told WorldNetDaily. “Congressman Paul has many findings in the bill that lays out the case against the legitimacy and authority of the (ICC).”
Among them, said the Texas lawmaker, is the fact that the world body’s “charter gives neither the U.N. General Assembly nor any other U.N. agency lawmaking authority.”
“In other words,” he continued, “there cannot be U.N. ‘laws,’ and there is no valid law authorizing the establishment of the ICC. The ratification of the ICC treaty, whether by 60 nations or 1,000, does nothing to give the court any legal authority whatsoever.”
The bill notes that that under the terms of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, “no nation may be bound by a treaty to which that nation has not consented.”
“Therefore the United States, which has not consented” to the ICC “cannot be bound” by its terms, the bill says.
It notes that the ICC is “wholly unauthorized by the Charter of the United Nations.” And, it says the ICC statute “also contravenes the principle of government only by the consent of the governed,” which is “enshrined in the American national charter, the Declaration of Independence.”
The ICC’s authority, the bill notes, circumvents U.S. constitutional “principles of separation of powers, federalism and trial by jury that are guaranteed” to Americans.
The ICC “by design and effect, is an illegitimate court,” the bill states.
Paul thinks the world court could be used as a tool against the global interests of the U.S.
“The ICC, like the U.N. itself, will be used for political purposes,” he said. “Far from being neutral, the court will serve as a weapon against disfavored nations and leaders. Given the anti-American sentiment that pervades the U.N., we can only assume that the court will be used one day to prosecute Americans who offend our many enemies among U.N. member states.”
As WND reported, the world court was officially instituted yesterday at the U.N.’s New York City headquarters. According to its charter, the ICC is a permanent tribunal established ostensibly to prosecute “crimes against humanity.”
Clinton signed the treaty on his last day in office, Jan. 20, 2001, but it has never been ratified by the Senate. But as late as Monday there were reports that President Bush had sought means to retract the signature of the former president.
Deist confirmed that Bush has talked of finding a way to withdraw Clinton’s signature, but he said talk in Washington is sometimes cheap.
“The ICC cannot exercise legitimate jurisdiction over American citizens,” Paul said. “Furthermore, the Senate cannot constitutionally ratify any treaty that attempts to surrender the judicial function to an international agency. Our Constitution guarantees every American citizen various rights before, during and after a criminal arrest and trial, and no valid treaty can deny our citizens those rights.”
Deist told WND that the bill is similar to legislation introduced in the House and Senate last summer, but that the Texas lawmaker’s bill “is more zesty.”
He also said the measure had garnered at least 15 co-sponsors by midday yesterday but it is so new that it has yet to be assigned a number.