- The Washington Times - Monday, April 1, 2002

Courting ICC ratification

The March 28 story "World tribunal 4 signatories away from ratification" contains misleading information about the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC Treaty has been signed by 139 countries, including the United States and Israel. The court will be created when the 60th country ratifies the treaty. The 60th ratification will occur on April 11 in a ceremony at the United Nations. An accurate headline would have not used "signatories."

You initially identify the court as able to "try anyone … including Americans." The court will hold accountable perpetrators of genocide, major war crimes and crimes against humanity when national jurisdictions will not or cannot act. The countries that negotiated the ICC Treaty were motivated by the need to prosecute human rights abusers, not some desire to undermine U.S. national interests or try Americans on bogus charges.

The court will have jurisdiction over crimes committed in countries that ratify the treaty. It will not have retroactive jurisdiction. Countries ought to be free to enter into voluntary agreements to enhance national court systems, right? To the extent that the ICC does have universal jurisdiction, it is based on the ability of the U.N. Security Council to refer charges to the ICC. Since the United States can veto any action by the Security Council, this is not a threat to U.S. national interests.

President Clinton did sign the ICC Treaty "shortly before leaving office," but it was also the last day a country could sign the treaty without ratifying it. Israel also signed on the same day. While Mr. Clinton's post-election pardons may have looked inappropriate, the decision to sign the ICC Treaty was driven by a timeline unrelated to U.S. politics.

The article quotes a U.N. expert as saying that the ICC has safeguards. The Washington Times should elevate the discourse on the ICC and analyze the details of the safeguards. What are they? Are they sufficient?

I commend The Washington Times for covering the ICC in more detail than other media outlets. I look forward to seeing even deeper coverage on the specific benefits and drawbacks of the court.



USA for the International Criminal Court


Turkey's 'intervention' in Cyprus was no less than invasion

In a March 29 letter to the editor "Cypriot Greeks, Turks have equal political status," Turkish Cypriot representative Osman Ertug comments that "it is wrong and misleading to call the legal and justified Turkish intervention … of July 1974 an 'invasion'." May I remind him of the results of Turkey's 1974 invasion?

Turkish troops were responsible for more than 6,000 killings, widespread rape, torture, the systematic obliteration of cultural property (including the destruction of churches), and the ethnic cleansing of 200,000 Greek Cypriots making them refugees in their own country and bringing 28 years of heartbreak to the families of the more than 1,500 missing people. All this out of a population of 600,000. Placing Turkey's invasion of Cyprus into context, the 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees would correspond to 110 million in the United States. Perhaps "intervention" is simply a Turkish euphemism for invasion?

In numerous applications to the European Commission of Human Rights, Turkey was found guilty of widespread violations of human rights in Cyprus. In a more recent application, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Turkish government to compensate Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou for the loss of enjoyment of her property seized during its invasion. Turkey remains the only member of the 40-nation Council of Europe to refuse compliance with a compensation order from its human rights court a breach that could lead to Turkey's expulsion from the council.

This forced population transfer continues in occupied Cyprus. Since 1974, Turkey has relocated more than 125,000 mainland Turks to northern Cyprus. In this clearly illegal, Soviet-style effort to alter the demographics of northern Cyprus (one which the United Nations has condemned), Turkey has displaced not only the few remaining Greek Cypriots, but also Turkish Cypriots, who are often treated as second-class citizens and denied the rights and privileges of alien settlers from Turkey.

As for Mr. Ertug's assertion that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots have equal political status, may I remind him that the term "co-founder" relates purely to the founding of the Republic of Cyprus and is only an expression to categorize the constitutional powers of the bi-communal state. It does not imply that recognition should be granted to a state created through invasion and ethnic cleansing.

I do, however, agree with Mr. Ertug that the Cyprus issue is "complex and difficult," which, of course, makes it easy prey for those who wish to misrepresent it to the American public.



All is sludgy along the Potomac

I am saddened and disheartened to read that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted a permit to the Army Corps of Engineers to continue dumping hundreds of tons of sludge into the Potomac River ("Potomac dumping to continue," March 28). This is a travesty, especially to those who have fought so long to clean up this magnificent river.

As one who spends many hours fishing on the Potomac and enjoying the scenery, I believe that I can speak for my fellow fishermen in saying that we are outraged at this insensitive gesture against the wildlife and the residents of the metropolitan area.

This is a clear violation of the laws that the EPA is responsible for enforcing. I am hopeful that more of the metropolitan community will denounce the dangerous and reprehensible actions of the EPA and the Corps of Engineers.



Bloody real estate deal

In your March 30 story "Remains found from time of Christ," you state that Judas bought the burial ground now known as the "field of blood" and then hanged himself there.

In the Gospel according to Matthew, however, Judas threw the money given to him by the Pharisees on the temple floor and ran out to hang himself. The Pharisees, not able for ritual purposes simply to give the money to the temple general fund, bought the land for a cemetery.


Hanover, N.H.

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