From the Annals of Stupid Headlines

by Kevin Jon Heller

Today’s headline in the Wall Street Journal:

Threat of Trial Keeps Gadhafi Fighting.

Yes, because if the Security Council hadn’t referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, Gadhafi would clearly have transferred power to the rebels in an orderly and peaceful fashion by now.

Oh, well.  I don’t expect very much from the Wall Street Journal.  After all, in the very same article, the author claims that “the U.S. hasn’t ratified the ICC statute and doesn’t recognize its jurisdiction, in part because of fears that American soldiers and politicians could find themselves prosecuted one day for their involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”  Apparently, the author knows so little about the ICC that he doesn’t realize the Court already has jurisdiction over U.S. crimes in Afghanistan, which is a signatory to the Rome Statute.

4 Responses

  1. Unlike you I am utterly unsurprised by what “journalists” produce. My thoughts on that, if you are interested, can be found here:

  2. Moreover, the US position has been that ICC jurisdiction can properly be invoked by UNSCR action — even the Bush Administration acquiesced in the Sudan referral. 

  3. Not that this was what the author of the WSJ article was thinking of, but what is the current status of the Article 98 agreement between the US and Afghanistan? Has the Obama administration taken a formal position on the legal effect of the Article 98 agreement in the event of an ICC investigation? Is it entering into new ones?

  4. I fully agree with you Kevin… but this headline is right on par with the line of reasoning (from the ICC Prosecutor for eg) that the threat of trials actually has a deterrent effect… We will never know whether Kadafi would have left peacefully without the referral, but we certainly know now that the threat of a a trial has not suddenly led the regime to stop committing crimes…

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