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Commentary :: Human Rights : International
Is the International Criminal Court politically corrupt, or merely supine, in the case of Iraq?
22 Jan 2006
Who needs a backbone? An open letter to all the less-than-energetic people who work at the ICC..
"To whoever receives this
Public Information Office
International Criminal Court
The Hague.

I would be most obliged if you could see to it that this reaches all its addresees.

Thank you for your assistance.

Peter Ravenscroft

The President, Judges, Public Prosecutor and all staff of the ICC,
The Hague.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is an open letter.that will be published as widely as possible on the Internet.

Shortly after the invasion of Iraq by the military of the United States of America, Britain, Australia and others, I asked as formally as I knew how, that your court, in the interests of saving lives there, investigate the actions of Mrs Elizabeth Widsor, the Queen of both Britain and Australia, of Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and of Mr John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia, and their officers, civil and military, who were involved in that invasion. I asked both by email and by letter.

Apart from acknowledgement from your Public Information Office, and another many months later from one of your officials saying you were waiting for a Public Prosecutor to be appointed to your court before I would be informed further, I have heard nothing.

Your court has apparently been supine while tens of thousands of people have died or been injured or rendered destitute. At one point, on your website the information was posted that you had all decided to do nothing about Iraq and instead would prosecute war criminals in Africa. As that conflict has claimed far more lives than the one in Iraq, it was clearly urgent that you do someting about the wars in Africa. I am from Africa originally, well aware of the grave trouble there, and hence grateful that war criminals there are being given an uneasy time.

But that does not give you the faintest excuse for your inaction over Iraq. Your website announced that nothing was being done about Iraq because the United States of America had not signed the Rome Statute. That is absolutely no excuse for your court's dereliction of duty. Both Britain and Australia did sign the Rome Statute, and on that basis, if the invasion of Iraq by the US and those two countries was illegal, you are required to proceed. If that invasion was illegal, serial murder has been committed, inter alia. You have no right to ignore that and still call yourself an impartial court of justice, or expect the world's people to regard you as one.

The Secretary General of the United Nations some tiime back stated, presumably on sound legal advice, that that invasion was illegal. Why do you still do nothing? You appeaer to have failed us. If that is not so, please explain.

If the Secretary General was wrong, and you have sound contrary legal advice, I think you are obliged to disclose it to the people of the world. If you do not have such advice, you are definitely in breach of your duty iand of the world's expectations f you have still done nothing aboiut Iraq. If you have done anything meaningfull, will you please inform the world public what it is? It is impossible, in the present circumsrtance, for the ordinary folk of the world to avoid the conclusion that you are either afraid of the covert forces of the major powers, or in one or other of their copious pockets. You all draw very comfortable salaries, paid in the end by the ordinary people of a world that is not rich. We expect that well-clad and well-fed people in expensive skyscrapers, who are living well on public momey, will earn their keep.

By your inaction as a group, you have degraded the concept of international justice. If there is any, it should be applied equally to one and all, no matter what fancy regalia miscreants may wear. You have not been asked to pursue the main instigator of the invasion of Iraq, as Mr George Bush of Texas is by statute, beyond your reach. You have merely been asked to investigate the heads of state of countries that have signed the Rome Statute and participated in this murderous invasion. If our heads of state have committed war crimes, we have the right to expect that those individuals will be investigated and be brought to trial.

Your terms of operation require that the local authorities first decline to prosecute, before you will act. In the case of Australia, where I am a citizen, I have written to the Governor-General and asked him to do so. One of his officials wrote back refusing to consider the issue. I wrote similarly to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, with the same result. I can send you their letters if it will help get your court moving. I also wrote to the Commisioner of the Australian Federal Police, but received no written reply. However, in the course of trying to assist a lady from Singapore who was visiting and through no fault of hewr own became destitute, an entirely seperate matter, an senior officer of the Federal Police phoned me after cancelling the assistance underway from their officers in Sydney, on the grounds that I had previously written to them re the matter here discussed. Over a minor spelling error in the lady's name, they rrefused to continue. Fortunately the NSW Police stepped in and were most helpful, but I did then ask the Canberra fedral policeman for a written reply to my earlier request. None has been forthcoming. I think that all adds up to a refusal to investigate the matter of the possibility of war crimes having been committed by our two heads of state, the local authorities.

The rules changed when we and Britainn signed the Rome Statute. I have asked for the umpire's decision, but the umpire appears to have gone deaf..

So, will you please now do something real, or at least tender a coherent explanation for your group inaction or at very least, for your failure to communicate if you have in fact done anything real?

Along with many others on this planet, I have the honour to be in no way yours.

Good Day.

Peter Ravenscroft.

Closeburn, Queensland, Australia. 7 January, 2006"

To illustrate the backgroumd situation, this appeared on the Internet, courtesy of Google's cache and a search under "ICC, Iraq":

'Since his appointment as prosecutor in April last year Ocampo has received around 500 requests from 66 countries, but has asked for a full inquiry in only one case relating to the Democratic Republic of Congo."

It was at:

This work is in the public domain
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