Wouldn't that be sweet irony!
Imagine if President Obama went to Oslo next week to receive his Nobel Peace Prize and was arrested for purported war crimes committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. This bit of historical irony would be possible under an argument being made by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Mr. Ocampo claims jurisdiction over actions of U.S. troops in Afghanistan because Kabul in 2003 acceded to the Rome Statute, which established the court. He said a preliminary examination already is under way regarding possible American culpability in crimes against humanity.
There are 110 ratified parties to the agreement, but of them, only Afghanistan has a major U.S. combat-force presence, and the United States does not recognize the treaty. President Clinton signed the Rome Statute in December 2000, but the Senate did not ratify the treaty, and Mr. Clinton's signature was nullified by President George W. Bush in May 2002. The Bush administration was concerned that the ICC would become a permanent arena for endless harassment of American military personnel and civilian leaders on trumped-up war-crimes charges. But under Mr. Ocampo's logic, the court's jurisdiction would be determined by the nation in which foreign forces or personnel are stationed regardless of whether the forces' home country recognized the treaty. The United States would have to face the music.
As early as September, Mr. Ocampo was investigating allegations of "massive attacks, collateral damage exceeding what is considered proper, and torture" conducted by coalition forces. Those who believe that Mr. Ocampo only has a case against the previous administration should think again.