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US disqualified from talking about human rights over sanctions against ICC

By Md Enamul Hassan (People's Daily Online)    17:29, June 15, 2020

US President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to block its officials from being directly involved in investigating American troops and intelligence officials and those of allied nations. President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order authorizing new sanctions against prosecutors and officials of the ICC so that they can't bring war crime suspects from the US and Israel to justice. He imposed the sanctions at a time when the ICC is close to opening probes into possible war crimes against the US and Israel. 

Analysts are of the view that by imposing sanctions on the ICC, the US has put the final nail in the coffin of the global justice system. They believe Trump's move has revealed the US' true colors. The country is very clamorous about human rights around the world, and plays the sole agent in safeguarding global human rights.

But Trump's order has unmasked the double standard of his country regarding human rights. It has made it crystal clear that the US government uses human rights as a political tool to protect its ulterior motives and self-interest against its opponents. The US uses human rights as an excuse to clamp down on its dissidents around the world. But it is, in fact, not the least bit interested in human rights.

If the US has the least respect for human rights, it can't impose sanctions on the ICC to block the investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan involving US troops and intelligence officials. The world knows many notorious incidents involving the torture of prisoners, sexual violence, and the indiscriminate mass killing of civilians by US forces in Afghanistan.

During the Afghan War, about 150,000 people were killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while over 40,000 civilians suffered violent deaths in the conflict. Last November, an American Reaper drone targeted a group of villagers in Paktia and killed seven civilians, including three women and one child.

US forces committed enormous crimes against humanity in Afghanistan. But the world has been shocked by the news of grisly and heinous crimes such as the torture and prisoner abuse in the Bagram military detention center, Kandahar massacre, and Maywand District murders.

In 2005, the world reacted with fury as the New York Times published reports concerning the general treatment of prisoners and the homicides of two unarmed civilian Afghan prisoners by US military personnel at the Bagram detention center in December 2002.

The two prisoners, Habibullah and Dilawar, were repeatedly chained to the ceiling and beaten, resulting in their deaths. Military coroners ruled that both the prisoners' deaths were homicides. But autopsies revealed severe trauma to both prisoners' legs, describing the trauma as comparable to being run over by a bus.

In May 2010, the BBC reported on nine prisoners who "told consistent stories of being held in isolation in cold cells where a light is on all day and night. The men said they had been deprived of sleep by US military personnel there."

The Kandahar massacre occurred in the early hours of 11 March 2012, when United States Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales murdered sixteen civilians and wounded six others in the Panjwayi District of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Nine of his victims were children, and eleven of the dead were from the same family. Some of the corpses were partially burned.

The Maywand District murders involved the killing of at least three Afghan civilians perpetrated by a group of US Army soldiers from June 2009 to June 2010, during the War in Afghanistan.

Given the gravity of crimes and violation of human rights by the US in Afghanistan, it can easily be concluded that the US has never been a savior, but rather the worst violator of human rights. All of its efforts for human rights are nothing but crocodile tears. By imposing sanctions on the ICC, the US has been disqualified from talking about human rights. It no longer has the moral grounds to speak for peace, justice, and stability in the world.

The author is the China Correspondent of the Bangladesh Post. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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