International Criminal Court in the Hague will now try CEOs


Originally published at:


CEOs whose businesses are complicit in human rights atrocities – like the mass murder of people who object to land-grabs by mineral extraction companies – can now be tried in the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

I damn near fell out’a my chair when I read that.


The fact that the US isn’t going to play ball provides reassurance that it’s still Business As Usual, mind.


It would, but does that apply to a multinational corporation headquartered in Ireland or the Caymans for tax purposes, using some kind of double-Dutch-sandwich ownership structure to further diffuse its tax location? Can they still arrest the real CEO who’s American?


I studied a bit of international law once upon a time, and I thought this sounded a bit odd, so I investigated a bit. It seems that this NGO (Global Witness) is responding to a document released by the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (“OTP”) the other day. In that document, the OTP writes: “The Office will also seek to cooperate and provide assistance to States, upon request, with respect to conduct which constitutes a serious crime under national law, such as the illegal exploitation of natural resources, arms trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, financial crimes, land grabbing or the destruction of the environment.” It then cites art. 93(10) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which states: “The Court may, upon request, cooperate with and provide assistance to a State Party conducting an investigation into or trial in respect of conduct which constitutes a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court or which constitutes a serious crime under the national law of the requesting State.”

So, if my understanding is correct, the ICC will only get involved in cases like this when requested by a State Party. That means that the ICC would not be starting investigations on its own. But that’s just my reading of it.


The Hague Invasion Act is only meant for US personnel but prohibits any cooperation with the ICC. It’s very unlikely that the court will have any relevance for US citizens or companies.


So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

Yeah right - when push comes to shove the mask comes off.


The ICC is opt-in, so it’s unlikely anything will happen. The only case I can think of where this might work is if a country sues a corporation that is acting within its borders.


If it does any good that is. I’m too much of a cynic to think it will work.


As usual, the Che knew what he was talking about: without teeth, stuff like this doesn’t work.


*Offer not applicable in USA, China, India, Russia, Israel and Sudan. The court’s decision may appear more important than it really is. Do not operate heavy machinery while reading the court’s decision as dizziness may occur.


Alas, it’s not the policy of international corporations and uber rich families. They only seek and support the growth of their own fortunes. And they’re quietly gaining control of the world, if they’re not there already. TPP will surely be a step in that direction.


Well, it does limit travel to only those countries that do not participate in the ICC for fear of arrest. Kind of a hinderance to doing business when you cannot visit.


Same. However even if this currently has no jurisdiction or teeth it is still a precident that can be pointed at as implied or explicit threat and whispered ‘This thing exists now. It is a thing now on the table if you ever step so far out of line that we feel something must be done because you are hurting ALL of us by your continued douchbaggery.’

All this said while looking at the proto-trump that jacked up the price of life sustaining medication for which no generic exists by 3000%.

So yes, while it currently holds no power, it is a thing that can be pointed at because the plutarchs might not want to be accountable, they have to show that they understand there are lines they cannot cross or the plebeians roll the guillotine out again and damned the creature comforts or fear of reprisals because they have become that desperate.

That is what this represents, a way to bleed off those with more money than brains and a severe lack in understanding at how far a population is willing to be pushed.

Is it ideal? Not by a long shot or by any chance or imagining. However it is Something, and Something is better than Nothing.


That is incorrect. See: Omar Bashir


I always loved this aspect. Don’t like the ICC’s ruling? Just drop out of the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Basically it self-selects to only include the countries who wouldn’t need an ICC ruling.


it’s not that bad - the green countries are members, the orange have signed but not ratified (though the US already said they will never ratify it iirc)


Seeing the number of questionable countries on there is “reassuring.” See? The US has nothing to fear, plenty of regimes that should probably be prosecuted there.


It’s a step in the right direction. Even though it has no legal teeth, the bad press associated with an individual CEO being charged with the equivalent of war crimes will have an impact. The very real fear of a bad Google legacy might cause actual policy change. A company paying a few million in fines (while admitting no wrongdoing) is no big deal, but having the world (including your peers) treat you as a pariah is another matter.

No one wants the first Google result on his name being

“The US continues to refuse extradition of Jason Knobwacker wanted by the International Criminal Court for his role in the torture and murder of 25 people in…”


What’s Al Capone got to do with any of this?