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The UN to Try Americans? By: Thomas Kilgannon
Washington Times | Friday, July 09, 2004

Giving Iraqi citizens authority to determine their own destination is deemed so important that hundreds of American lives have been sacrificed and billions of U.S. tax dollars spent to give Iraq its sovereignty.

But while Americans have been fighting for Iraqi sovereignty, we have allowed the United Nations to strip us of another piece of our own.

At the same time the United States prepared to hand the Iraqis their sovereignty, Kofi Annan and the U.N. Security Council informed the United States that U.S. military personnel serving in U.N. peacekeeping missions will now be subject to indictment and prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) — a clear violation of American sovereignty.

The Bush administration has deep and justified misgivings about the ICC, and in 2002 removed the United States as a signatory to the Rome Statute creating the global court. It was an ignominious insult that Kofi Annan never forgave. The Bush administration has since twice negotiated immunity for U.S. peacekeepers through the Security Council.

But abuses at Abu Ghraib prison gave the secretary-general the opening he needed. It "would be unfortunate for one to press for such an exemption, given the prisoner abuse in Iraq," Kofi said, trying to wrap himself in the human-rights mantle.

But if Mr. Annan really cared about protecting human rights, he would protest the membership of Zimbabwe, Sudan, Cuba, China, Uganda, Saudi Arabia and other human-rights abusers on the U.N. Human Rights Commission. But Kofi is silent when it comes to defending human rights, unless he can take a shot at the United States in the process.

Instead, what Kofi Annan and his allies really want is for the United States to submit to the will of the United Nations and its International Criminal Court. "The world community will not stand for continued efforts to undermine the International Criminal Court," declared Irene Khan of Amnesty International. William Pace of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court saw the U.S. defeat as "a victory for international justice."

To its credit, the Bush administration hasn't conceded yet.

Last week, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita announced a few U.S. peacekeepers in Africa and Kosovo are coming home, and other missions are being examined to assess the threat. But hundreds of Americans continue serving in U.N. peacekeeping operations in military or police capacities in Kosovo and Liberia while others are stationed in Sierra Leone, East Timor, Georgia, and the Middle East.

The Pentagon should pull them all. U.S. military personnel have enough to worry about without being targeted by international ambulance chasers with political vendettas. Americans inclined to serve in the armed forces may think twice about joining if they could be hauled before a foreign court that does not allow them to confront their accusers; lacks due process, trial by jury, a public and speedy trial, and protection against double jeopardy.

Simply put, the ICC will not recognize the constitutional rights we as Americans are guaranteed. And while Mr. Annan and his ICC supporters criticized the Bush administration for trying to "undermine international law," the architects of the ICC were writing new international laws to protect themselves.

The "Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court" — ratified with the assent of only 10 nations — provides the ICC immunity from "every form of legal process." The "property, funds and assets" of the ICC "shall be immune from search, seizure, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference."

The ICC and its assets are "are exempt from all direct taxes" including local taxes and customs. ICC members have declared themselves immune from "personal arrest or detention"; "legal process of every kind"; and "immigration restrictions." In addition, the "salaries, emoluments and allowances" of the judges, prosecutor, deputy prosecutor and the registrar of the ICC are "exempt from taxation."

Hypocrisy runs deep in Kofi Annan's court, but it indicates the lengths to which globalists will go to undermine national sovereignty. If we are to remain an independent nation, we need to do as much to protect our own sovereignty as we are doing to defend Iraq's.

Thomas P. Kilgannon is the president of Freedom Alliance.

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