The NY Times gets it mostly wrong again in its editorial, Detained in Libya.
A Libyan militia has detained four officials of the International Criminal Court since Thursday on spurious charges. They should be released immediately.
The Times is probably right as far as it goes. ICC officials should be treated with respect. But here’s the issue as framed by the Times:
We don’t know exactly what’s going on. But the court is weighing Libya’s request to try Mr. Qaddafi in Libya. If it decides the country is not prepared to hold a fair and competent trial, it can order Libyan authorities to surrender him at The Hague. This episode raises serious doubts about the government’s fairness and its competence.
This edict by the International Criminal Court ought to raise serious doubts about the ICC’s fairness and its competence.
For you see, the ICC is a creature of the so-called Rome Treaty and for the ICC to have jurisdiction, the nation in question must have ratified the treaty. Libya has not. While the Security Council recommended the ICC look into it, they pointedly did not refer the matter to the ICC. Even then, I would personally question the competency of the ICC to act. I do not want the UN Security Council deciding what nations get investigated or not by the International Criminal Court. (There is an odious provision of the Rome Treaty that allows the prosecutor to act unilaterally and that is a source of court power!)
So, what the NY Times should ask is: Why is the ICC meddling in a matter internal to Libya? Another question is: How does this endanger US interests? The United States has also not ratified the Rome Treaty. (President Clinton signed the treaty but did not submit it for ratification and President G. W. Bush ordered my hero, John Bolton, to rescind that signature.)
But instead, we have this recommendation:
Unless Libya can prove that it can provide a fair and secure trial for Mr. Qaddafi, he should be transferred to The Hague. The reputation of Libya’s government is on the line here. The world should pay close attention.
What we need is a administration that is dedicated to destroying the International Criminal Court and making sure never again can the UN send a person to jail – no matter how much they deserve it. One day, the headline will read: US Detains Arrest Warrant for President So-and-so. Presumedly, the NY Times will support the ICC. Where I come from, Americans who support foreigners to arrest our leaders or former leaders are at the VERY LEAST not supporting their nation in time of crisis.