LD Jan/Feb Topic International Court
Debate Rounds (3)
In order to produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people, the harms and benefits of each option need to be weighed. If an international court does not have the highest benefits to harms ratio, it is not the best option and does not produce the greatest good for the greatest number. For this reason I chose Harms Benefit Analysis for the value criterion for this round. This is the overriding value criterion because it requires us to address the situations logically and weigh the greatest good for the greatest number.
Contention One: The harms of an International Court outweigh its benefits.
An International court only has jurisdiction over nations that are willing submit to it. In addition, an international court has no means to compel participation by unwilling nations. The court has no means to execute or enforce its decisions. By lacking military or other police capabilities, an international court becomes impotent in executing its will. As Brett Schaefer of the American Heritage Foundations says, "The Sudanese government, for example, was embroiled in a civil war against Christians, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has encouraged his supporters to murder political opponents and seize their property, and the ICC can't touch them."
The Bosnian War started in 1992 with the "ethnic cleansing" of Croats and Muslims in the Bosnian capital, committed by the Bosnian Serbs. The Serb army carried out deadly campaigns of "ethnic cleansing," massacring members of other ethnic groups or expelling them from their homes to create exclusively Serb areas. In early January 1993, the United States Envoy Vance began negotiating a peace proposal with the leaders of Bosnia's warring factions. But these diplomatic transactions were soured when the International Court of Justice agreed to try a case against the Serbia leaders. According to Gary Dempsey of Cato Institute, "The court also could jeopardize future U.S. efforts to resolve international conflicts. For example, if the court indicts the leaders of a warring faction while the United States is trying to conduct peace talks, that faction may respond by rejecting the resulting peace plan [to avoid arrest]. That result would lead to more death and destruction, not less. In fact that scenario unfolded in Bosnia in 1993 and resulted in the Bosnian war dragging on for another 18 months." The case was not closed in the International Court of Justice until the 26th February 2007.
Contention Two: Bilateral diplomatic actions benefits outweigh its harms
a)Bilateral Diplomacy is effective at ending existing human rights violations
If a nation believes another nation is committing human rights violations, bilateral diplomatic action is most beneficial solution and creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Instead of raising a concern to an impotent court, the nation approaches the other party directly. If the diplomacy is successful then it is obvious that both parties will follow through with correcting the violations. Diplomacy would additionally avoid the issue over the jurisdiction that an international court has. In the event that diplomacy fails, then nations, unlike international courts, have multiple means available of coercing correct action of the offending party, such as sanctions, embargos, and military action.
b)Bilateral Diplomacy has the capability to prevent future violations. While an International courts can only prosecute past violations.
By definition, an international court can only punish human rights violations and therefore can take no preventative measures. The idea of a court banks on the possibility that a punishment might deter criminals. This idea barely works on the small scale inside national lines - citizens submit to the jurisdictions of US law however, everyday, those same citizens continue to steal, rape, and murder. On the large scale people who are willing to commit genocide are not deterred by the threat of conviction. According to John R. Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, "Men like Hitler and Pol Pot are often not deterred from aggression, let alone by a weak and distant institution with no real enforcement powers." Unlike a court, diplomacy can begin before a nation has committed a human rights violation.
As I have shown, international courts have no power over nations that do not willingly submit to the jurisdiction of the court and can only punish human rights violations. Diplomacy is the better solution because it can peacefully prevent human rights violations in nations that cooperate in the diplomatic process, and it can forcefully prevent human rights violations in nations that do not cooperate. Therefore, I urge a Negative ballot.
International Court – a collection of nations that are responsible for prosecution
Ought: an obligation or duty
Submit - yield to the control of another
Jurisdiction - the right and power to interpret and apply the law
Crimes against humanity - as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum "constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority."
My Value for this debate is Human Rights. Human Rights are the Paramount Human Value and thus are intrinsically valuable. Without Human Rights any society ceases to be legitimate and humanity itself will degrade into a Hobbesian state of nature. The resolution explicitly states that this international court is designed to prosecute crimes against humanity. Human rights are seen to be those rights that are intrinsic in humanity itself, they do not leave when you cross borders but are rather the essence of humanity These include Life, Liberty, Happiness and other rights that philosophers such as Locke held to be "natural rights".
The value criterion for today's round will be Justice because is justice is increased than we ensure human rights. Justice is defined as giving each his due. All people are due human rights and violators of human rights are due a punishment. If the United States does not do this then it actions are unjust and must be prosecuted in a just manner.
Contention 1- United States frequently commits crimes against humanity.
Although the United States considers itself to be an advocate of justice and human rights, our government continues to commit crimes against humanity. Guantanemo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and U.S rendition are examples of human rights violations and crimes that have been committed by the United States. President Bush signed a memorandum stating that the Third Geneva Convention, regarding the treatment of enemy prisoners taken in wartime, did not apply to members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban. In other words, he ordered that human rights are not due to individuals based on their religious and political affiliation. That signature led directly to the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and U.S Rendition.
Subpoint A. U.S Rendition
Extraordinary rendition is the extrajudicial transfer of a person from one state to another, especially in the case of alleged transfer of suspected terrorists to countries known to torture prisoners or to employ harsh interrogation techniques. The United States has operated an extensive rendition program since 9/11, involving the transfer of detainees from and to holding centers and prisons in several other countries. It has also been found that some of those detainees have been tortured with the knowledge, acquiescence or even participation of United States agencies. In such cases, the prisoners are tortured into signing a confession linking them to Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. U.S. Representative Rohrabacher stated that he would fight any efforts to end the practice.
Subpoint B. Even though Abu Ghraib has recently been shut down, the abuse policies of America are still in place.
The Abu Ghraib prison, also known as the Baghdad Correctional Facility, became internationally known as a prison for war criminals. United States military's torture of Iraqi detainees was revealed in a series of photographs published in worldwide news media.
Major General Taguba stated that there were numerous instances of "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" at Abu Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of detainees was perpetrated by soldiers and members of the American intelligence community. Although Abu Ghraib closed in 2006, Executive Director of the American civil liberties union stated, "To this day, the Bush administration has refused to hold high-level officials accountable for creating policies that resulted in the abuse of detainees. Instead, only low-ranking soldiers have been prosecuted."
Contention 2: U.S can't prosecute human rights violations justly by itself
The United States government openly has openly violated human rights and has abrogated the Geneva Conventions designed to protect human rights. However, high-ranked officials have yet to be prosecuted because it is the government themselves that are committing the crimes. The American decision to engage in counterterrorism beyond the reach of national or international law arose from a desire, a need as Washington saw the matter, to avoid the restrictions of the US law and constitution, which protect individual rights.
A resolution was passed by congress saying that, "the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001... in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." Therefore, United States law has been manipulated and the Constitution has been breached in order to allow for these human rights violations. Even if the United States decides to prosecute the high-ranking officials who authorized, encouraged, and even ordered these crimes against humanity, these charges will either be dropped or the punishments will be minimal because it is the government themselves who have committed these crimes. An example is the Scooter Libby case. Scooter Libby was the Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs to the Bush Administration from 2001 to 2005, was indicted by a federal grand jury on five felony counts, perjury, and obstruction of justice. Libby was convicted but his sentence was commuted by President Bush. It is apparent that relying on our own government to prosecute criminals who are a part of our government is impractical because they are not tried and convicted justly. The international court, which derives its' general principles of law from the national laws of State in question, would lead to the just prosecution of criminals where the states fails to do so.
Since a majority of our nation's crimes against humanity reside in governmental policies and actions, it is imperative for the United States to submit to an international court. Before me can aide other countries in need, we must fix the human rights violations within out own country. This is done by submitting to an international court; therefore I urge an affirmative ballot.
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