Thursday, December 11, 2014

The "Hague Invasion Act" and How the US Treats Accountability for Human Rights Abuses

Since the release of the "torture report" (the heavily redacted 525-page executive summary of a 6,3000 page document), civil liberties groups have renewed their call for the criminal prosecution for the architects and administrators of the torture program.

Here is ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero:
This should be the beginning of a process, not the end. The report should shock President Obama and Congress into action, to make sure that torture and cruelty are never used again. The Department of Justice needs to appoint a special prosecutor to hold the architects and perpetrators of the torture program accountable for its design, implementation, and cover-ups. Congress must assert its constitutional role in the system of checks and balances, and oversee the CIA, which in this report sounds more like a rogue paramilitary group than the intelligence gathering agency that it’s supposed to be. The president needs to use the moral authority of his office to formally recognize both the torture program’s victims and those in government who resisted this shameful and illegal policy.
Here is Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy:
   The long-delayed Senate report proves what we have been saying since 2006: that the CIA engaged in a sophisticated program of state-sanctioned torture, notable for its elaborate planning and ruthless application. We have witnessed firsthand the devastating human consequences in meetings with our clients at Guantanamo. The report also exposes the CIA’s lies about how the program operated and the utility of the information obtained: False claims about the usefulness of that information were used to justify and cover up monstrous crimes. We renew our demand for accountability for those individuals responsible for the CIA torture program. They should be prosecuted in U.S. courts; and if our government continues to refuse to hold them accountable, they must be pursued internationally under the principles of universal jurisdiction.
Although CCR is not talking about the International Criminal Court, the talk of international courts reminded me of a lesser-known law in the US, the American Service-Members' Protection Act, known also as the "Hague Invasion Act." 
The law, passed as an amendment to a supplemental appropriations bill in 2002, requires the US to "to protect...the maximum extent possible, against criminal prosecutions carried out by the International Criminal Court" any members of the Armed Forces or elected or appointed officials.

It developed the nickname of the "Hague Invasion Act" because it implies that the US would go so far as to invade the Hague, the site of the ICC, if need be.

The amendment passed in the senate 75 to 19 on June 6, 2002.

The NO votes were the following:

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Joe Biden (D-DE)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Jim Jeffords (I-VT)
Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Joe Lieberman (D-CT)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Paul Wellstone (D-MN)

22 Senators who voted YES are still in the Senate:

Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
John McCain (R-AZ)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

The YES contingent also included former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas, and Governor Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island.

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