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ICC Syria Carve Outs French Araud Obfuscated Slammed by NGOs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 27 -- Even before France's draft resolution to refer parts of the conflicts in Syria to the International Criminal Court failed on a double veto on May 22, there was criticism of France for agreeing to carve out such as of the Golan Heights, for Israel, and for nationals of non ICC members like the United States.

  It took five days after the double veto and after a first letter that omitted the issue, but on May 27 the Coalition for the International Criminal Court came out criticizing the carve outs that French Ambassador Araud defended and obfuscated.

   On May 22 Inner City Press asked Araud after the vote about these carve outs: if an American pilot as part of a coalition of the willing, not approved by the UN Security Council due to veto, bombed civilians and was downed in Syria, would he be taken to the ICC?

"Of course," Araud replied. "It is not a peacekeeping operation. Read the text." Video here.

   Today's CICC letter says "Security Council referrals to the ICC should not include exemptions of the nationals of some states while conferring jurisdiction over the nationals of others states, as is the effect of OP7."

  The CICC has still not answered this May 23 Press question: "is what Araud said true?"

  Throughout May 22 Inner City Press received opinions, including from Americans surprised French diplomat Araud, slated to become an Ambassador in Washington in July, would say this, or that the US had agreed to support a draft which while exempting the Golan Height might put an American pilot in front of the ICC.

  There were also more legal opinions, some that Araud was technically right under Operative Paragraph 7 of the draft resolution:

Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Syrian Arab Republic which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Syrian Arab Republic established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State.”

  Presumably when Araud said yes the US pilot could be taken to the ICC because “it is not a peacekeeping operation,” he was referring to the phrase “ all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Syrian Arab Republic established or authorized by the Council.”

  But the loophole, of course, is “RELATING to operations... established or authorized by the Council.” If the Council authorizes cross-border provision of aid into Syria, and an American pilot did bombing runs in Syria, would it be said the bombing was RELATED to the authorized aid operations?

  Ultimately, how can a country which is not a member of the ICC refer others to a court that is not good enough for it?

  Araud also belatedly addressed an issue he has refused to answer Inner City Press questions on: France's sale of Mistral warships to Russia while he speechifies about aggression on Crimea and Ukraine. Araud said those sale are a different matter: video here. This too causes some consternation in Washington and elsewhere. We'll have more on this.

  And as to the CICC, they've said that on the DRC's mere two convictions for 130 rapes by its soldiers in Minova in November 2012, and whether UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous is eviscerating the UN's claimed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy by continuing support to the 41st and 391st Battalions implicated in the rapes is beyond their mandate. So in whose mandate is that?


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