All indications are that the newly established ICC poses a serious threat to both American sovereignty and religious liberty. Written originally for Crisis magazine, this article includes an addendum - written by the author especially for CERC - which makes note of a number of important developments that have occurred since the original date of publication.
Dutch readers of the homosexual magazine Gay Krant tried unsuccessfully to sue Pope John Paul II in an Amsterdam court. In July, Gay Pride organized a gathering in Rome. The Dutch group claims the Holy Father's comment that the event was "offensive and insulting to Christian values" is discriminatory and incites hatred against homosexuals.
Of particular note is the comment by a spokesman for the Dutch court: "We are going to study this complaint, and it should also be seen in how far the incitements were at the disposal of a Dutch audience." The spokesman's remark hints at an unseen current swelling beneath what remains of western cultural and legal heritage. Its shadow is noted in an e-mail from a Catholic lawyer in Rome during the Gay Pride event: "A group of homosexuals has laid claim (it didn't say where but we can anticipate [where] in the future the ICC) that the Pope by his words has incited hatred and discrimination against homosexuals." The Dutch official implied that the papal remark, made in Rome, was not beyond prosecution in any nation where "incitement" is the offense, thus prompting the Catholic lawyer to surmise that the "where" of such trials will be the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Statute for the Creation of the ICC, known as the Rome Statute, was established on July 17, 1998, in Rome. The treaty will form a permanent world tribunal to try individuals for crimes of international import. The ICC respects no borders, hence the spokesman's reference to a Dutch audience. Once 60 nations ratify the treaty, the ICC is open for business. Proponents hope "future generations will not experience the atrocities and man-made suffering that this century has witnessed." History indicates that few perpetrators of atrocities (Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein) suffer at the hands of any tribunal, but politically incorrect public figures could be easily victimized by the ICC.
Crimes under the ICC's domain include genocide, crimes against humanity, aggression, sexual slavery, and enforced pregnancy. The ICC will have the power to enforce controversial social policies worldwide. United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan greeted the ICC as "a giant step forward in the march towards universal human rights and the rule of law." But which rights are universal human rights?
The UN's Beijing +5 Review followed the formula, "Women's rights are human rights." The term "health and reproductive rights" is part of the UN understanding of women's rights and the "rights of the girl child." If women's rights are human rights, could a claim be lodged in the ICC against the pope for teaching the sanctity of life?
Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain was a contributor to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His theory was that "people of various religious and ideological backgrounds can agree on a list of basic human rights without agreeing on their theoretical justification." Maritain expected the agreement would result in "social progress among nations." Could he have foreseen that in just 50 years the world's elite would corrupt western moral foundations by enshrining a new list of rights severed from any recognition of God? Rights to abortion, sexual orientation, and homosexual marriages, rights of the earth to be protected from "human parasites," necessitating UN population control programs that now form "international standards." Could the philosopher have known that a coordinated parade of UN conferences would systematically dismantle morality, so that by the dawn of the new millennium, Catholic teaching would be despised as the enemy of human progress?
The Christian worldview no longer shapes culture or informs legal development. Man, suddenly free to reconstruct his world, set busily about the task. Even so, Maritain could not have imagined that a blueprint for global governance would establish a world court, with universal jurisdiction beyond the mediation of sovereign nations, to reign over every human on earth. Neither could he have known that this court would rule according to globalized laws new definitions of human rights, new "international norms" inimical to Catholic practice. The philosopher did not foresee that the mob rule of unelected Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) would gather themselves into a "People's Assembly" of the UN for the year 2000. Maritain could not have guessed that Catholics teaching and preaching the faith might be found guilty of "hate crimes," "gender based crimes," or "crimes against humanity."
While some of the various crimes listed in the ICC statute "aggression," for example have been agreed to in principle on this side of the court's mandate, their precise definitions remain to be determined at future proceedings. And it is in crossing that bridge that normative understandings begin to shake. The Women's Caucus for Gender Justice is a radical pack leader for all manner of novel interpretation of terminology. A measure of the treachery hiding behind proposed terms and definitions is taken from the June ICC proceedings, where Arab states insisted that "sex slavery" be understood as public abuse. Islamic delegates to UN conferences heard frequently enough from western feminists that marriage is a patriarchal construct that effectively makes "domestic slaves" of women. It takes scant prophetic power to see how soon domestic slavery will become synonymous with sex slavery. Similar chicanery lurks in the term "enforced pregnancy." Its definition is now confined to deliberate rape of refugee women for the purpose of humiliating them with the children of their captors; originally, it was a feminist term designating any country that refused to legalize abortion.
Unsuspecting nations have agreed to ratify the ICC before terms have been defined or implementation procedures have been clearly drawn. This is a reliable tactic that radicals use to their vast advantage: Propose a humanitarian concept and command governments to agree to the principle, but control the definitions and implementation.
Americans with a cursory knowledge of the ICC assume that its proceedings will apply to war crimes and rogue warlords. An official UN information release says otherwise: "A decision has yet to be made as to whether the definition of crimes against humanity contained in the Statute will also include such acts when committed in peacetime . . . . The Yugoslavia Tribunal stated, 'It is by now a settled rule of customary international law that crimes against humanity do not require a connection to international armed conflict.'" If crimes against humanity can be prosecuted outside the context of war, it is critical that precise contexts and definitions be determined.
Consider a charge against the Vatican lodged by the European Network of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF-EN) on June 24. At the close of the Beijing +5 Special Session at the UN, radical NGOs and the coalition of western nations had again been halted in their drive for universal abortion rights. The Holy See's Permanent Observer Mission, led by Archbishop Renato Martino, was the target of angry, frustrated delegations and NGO lobbyists, including Planned Parenthood. Two weeks later, in an open letter to Pope John Paul II, IPPF-EN outlined its conflict with the Holy See: abortion and rape, condoms and AIDS, sex education, and homosexuality. The letter claimed " . . . we are deeply concerned that you do not seem to recognize that the opinions and actions of the Holy See . . . are seen by many as . . . war . . . that contributes to . . . suffering and deaths . . . [emphasis added]." IPPF-EN deliberately invoked "war crimes" imagery in this missive and is fully conversant with the ICC proceedings. Could the Holy Father conceivably be held responsible by the ICC (once it is fully ratified) for millions of AIDS deaths because the Church prohibits the use of condoms?
It is not far-fetched when one reads this release published by the UN:
According to the [ICC] draft statute, the definition of this crime would include the following prohibited acts:
- persecution against a group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural or religious (and possibly gender) grounds;
- other inhumane acts causing serious injury to the body or to mental or physical health.
Is it "inhumane" to teach against contraception and homosexuality in the face of AIDS? Is it "serious injury" to "mental health" to witness to life and condemn abortion? Will the pope and bishops be charged with the serious injury, both physical and mental, to millions of people?
As for the definition of "aggression," the proposal notes: "The definition must be precise enough for individuals to know what acts are prohibited; and it must be general enough to cover a wide variety of acts which may occur in the future, and which may not yet have been conceived of."
That ominous elasticity is sufficient for the wise. Recall that UN conferences systematically call for and fund radical sex education programs that violate parental guidance, universal "health and reproductive rights," contraceptives and condom distribution, and various pro-homosexual programs. The Church and pro-family organizations oppose these provisions. So deep is the animosity toward Christian morality that UN delegates from western nations have consistently fought the insertion of a conscience clause into the conference documents. The clause would exempt Christian health-care workers from having to provide condoms and contraceptives or perform sterilizations and abortions. Opposition to the conscience clause is that it deprives certain categories of people of their "health and reproductive rights."
Globalists and most UN bureaucrats understand themselves to be global citizens are quick to promote the "rule of law" as the key to global peace. The homogenizing laws they plan to impose for a unified global society are at enmity with Judeo-Christian heritage. A particularly vicious segment of the culture war is fought at UN conferences.
For ideologues, an "upwardly harmonized" global legal system is one tool for achieving the lower population necessary to reduce migration tensions, preserve the environment, curtail wars, and monitor humans noncompliant with global norms. UN conference programs of action (PfAs) are theoretically nonbinding but, in fact, fall into the "soft law" category. Thus, texts are bitterly contested during the document-drafting process. The language of these texts has enormous consequences, and all negotiating parties understand that reality. The powerful cabal behind the radical agenda submits carefully worded social engineering texts that are designed to become binding international law. Each successive conference reiterates the premise and provisions of the preceding conferences. Consistently opposed by the Holy See, population control in some guise is contained in all conference platforms.
The critical question is: How significant are UN conferences (Rio, the environment; Istanbul, human settlements; Cairo, population; Beijing, women) in setting norms for international customary law? How influential are NGOs such as Planned Parenthood in the process of determining international customary law and the definitions of crimes?
Legal scholars point out that the growing body of international agreements, conventions, accords, and declarations are cited repeatedly until they become an "international standard" by which judges may rule that they have become customary law. According to Richard G. Wilkins, professor of law at Brigham Young University, "unlike treaty law, customary international law is binding on the nations of the world even if those nations do not formally consent to be bound by that law. Customary law, in short, is exceedingly potent."
Wilkins cites former UN legal counsel Erik Suy, who acknowledges that UN declarations do not "create law" per se, but "customary international law may arise, however, through the mere repetition of principles in subsequent [UN] resolutions to which states give their approval."
Suy echoes Jonathan I. Charney, coeditor of the American Journal of International Law: "Multilateral fora often play a central role in creating and shaping contemporary international law." Charney lists the parties: " . . . fora include the United Nations General Assembly, regional organizations, and standing and ad hoc multilateral diplomatic conferences, as well as organizations devoted to specialized subjects." Charney sums up the mechanism: " . . . [M]ajor developments in international law are often begun or supported by proposals, reports, resolutions, draft treaties or protocols debated in such fora."
Thus, new international standards of redefined basic rights enter the arena of international law. Catholics are justified in sounding an alarm: If there are international laws that protect and promote immoral practices, and an international court with universal jurisdiction that attempts to coerce Christians into compliance with those laws, and there remains no sovereign nation in which a Christian may seek asylum, what then? Catacombs?
Catholic Americans depend on a sovereign nation as the guarantor of their personal and religious freedoms. Minus national sovereignty, who mediates between the individual and the global government?
Those familiar with the ICC point out that the United States did not sign the treaty. Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), introduced legislation in June that prohibits U.S. cooperation with the court and forbids ICC investigations in the United States. The GOP Platform 2000 makes this statement: "American troops must never serve under United Nations command. Nor will they be subject to the jurisdiction of an International Criminal Court." Americans assume that if the United States is not a party to the treaty, citizens are beyond the ICC's jurisdiction. Not so: Americans can still be prosecuted before the ICC without the protection of the U.S. Constitution.
Kenneth Gallant, professor of law at the University of Arkansas, explains, "If a nonsignatory nation refuses to cooperate, a case can be brought to the court by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. By virtue of their membership in the UN and nearly every nation is a member their citizens are subject to a case brought to the ICC by the Security Council." The U.S. veto power on the Security Council is an insufficient safeguard in light of current discussions about ending the veto power altogether.
Once the ICC is ratified, pressure on the United States to subordinate American cultural and legal traditions to world norms will increase. That pressure has begun already, says Judge Robert Bork, who observes a move toward legal globalism so strong it "may be capable of changing our Constitution." He warns Americans not to "surrender our interests" to nations "overtly hostile to the United States." Bork finds it "nauseating" to learn of laws forbidding crimes against humanity, "when it is obvious that what is involved is not law but politicized force." Justice Sandra Day O'Connor cited legal globalism and the U.S. refusal to endorse the ICC during an address at the University of Alabama. O'Connor advised students and faculty to preserve and protect the American rule of law.
Changing the domestic laws to reflect UN treaties and platforms is the goal of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). During a March session at UN headquarters, participants were advised to adopt methodologies for "transforming legislation" in nations by persuading judges to incorporate into their domestic decisions the terms and texts from the UN's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW, signed by Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright, is also stymied by Senator Helms.
CEDAW monitors "gender abuses" in nations that are its signatories. Once the ICC is operative, CEDAW may be eligible to bring cases before the court. According to a report Helms read to the Senate, CEDAW admonished Belarus over its perpetuation "of such symbols as a Mother's Day and lectured Armenia on the need to combat the traditional stereotype of women in the noble role of mother,'" Helms continued:
The [CEDAW] committee informed Slovenia that too many Slovenian mothers were staying home to raise their children. What a bad thing for mothers to do think of it staying home with their children. This committee warned that because only 30 percent of children were in day-care centers, the other 70 percent were in grave danger of, now get this, "miss[ing] out on educational and social opportunities offered in formal day-care institutions." Helms expressed his opposition to CEDAW unambiguously:
This treaty is not about opportunities for women. It is about denigrating motherhood and undermining the family. The treaty is designed to impose, by international fiat, a radical definition of "discrimination against women" that goes far beyond the protections already enshrined in the laws of the United States . . . . It is a terrible treaty negotiated by radical feminists with the intent of enshrining their radical antifamily agenda into international law. I will have no part of that [emphasis added]."
American courts have begun to transform our legal system by their own volition. Judicial activism is rampant, as Romer v. Evans makes clear. The goal is social engineering: The court has created social policies that render American culture less distinguishable in the globalist vision of a centrally controlled world federation from abortion to protection of homosexual partnerships, from Godless schools to gag orders on pro-life heroes.
Americans face a "time of danger," John Paul II warns: "The survival of a particular democracy depends . . . on the spirit which inspires and permeates its procedures for legislating, administering, and judging." The Holy Father issued his sober warning to the U.S. bishops during their 1998 ad limina visits. The pope outlined the "extremely serious moral choices" that lay before Americans threatened by the "crisis of moral culture in the developed world today." Catholic Americans have failed, thus far, to turn the tide though it is harsh to the ears of tireless crusaders, largely because our present difficulty is the reflection of Catholic atrophy.
America is on a collision course with global governance. It is not about black helicopters, ragtag militias, or smirking over yet another conspiracy recitation. The war is fought with laws and presidential executive orders to institute what Congress refuses to enact. It is fought with persuasion, such as the radical National Religious Partnership on the Environment (the United States Catholic Conference cooperates). Persuading Christians that it is their religious duty to comply with Agenda 21 from the UN's 1992 Earth Summit and its tumor, the Earth Charter, is part of the program. The ICC will prosecute environmental failures as a crime against humanity.
The battle is fought with propagandized entertainment and failure of the news establishment to inform. We were not informed of the 1994 struggle in the Senate to defeat the Convention on Biological Diversity (signed by Clinton) with its "Wildlands" implementation, where Americans are corralled in "corridors" of their land: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Senator Helms projected the "Wildlands" map on posters before the Senate, according to Congressional Record. Americans were not told of the heroism of the American Sheep Industry Association, whose research uncovered those maps maps the UN claimed did not exist.
The sweeping planetary powers proposed by the globalists are not news. Americans have read the antisovereignty comments of Henry Kissinger, Strobe Talbot, Henry Grunwald, Al Gore, Kofi Annan, Walter Cronkite, the Clinton duo, and a herd of lesser "world citizens." Some savvy Catholics understood the implications of Tony Blair's summer visit to Hans Küng to study "global ethics." The cover of the New Republic yipped, "America is surrendering its sovereignty to world government. Hooray."
Americans enjoy the greatest liberty and have the most to lose to the scheme of world governance. Catholic Americans lose immeasurably more, for the freedom to practice our faith will be severely circumscribed if the current immoral "international standards" as embodied in UN conferences, accords, and conventions are globally enforced by the ICC.
Most member states have agreed to a UN standing "peacekeeping" army. The ICC is well on its way to fruition. After 50 years of planning, the elite "braintrust" with the World Federalist Association in tow has summoned its faithful for a congratulatory millennium party. As this issue hits the newsstands, the largest gathering of heads of state in history will file into the UN's September 2000 Millennium Assembly. The first-ever "people's assembly" will convene a "parliament of humankind" representing "sovereign individuals." Drawn from selected NGOs, the people's assembly is a fraudulent "democratic" representation of civil society. The global governance system is nearly complete: general assembly, a people's assembly, a standing army, and a world court. All that remains is a source of revenue and a charismatic leader.
For New Agers, this consolidation of global power is the Aquarian initiation, a cosmic ecstasy. For brittle-eyed strategists, it's world hegemony, the inevitable political evolution. The assembly is also the first joint session of the UN and the State of the World Forum (SWF). That shadowy group is led by Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong, the elusive figure behind much of the final stage of global governance implementation. A scheme for a global tax will be unveiled: a tax on international transfer of funds and a bit tax on every byte of data sent over the Internet money and information. It should keep the planetarians in trillions for a century or so.
Space precludes a catalog of their plans. Write to the UN for a copy of Our Global Neighborhood. It will tell you more than you can bear.
There is no inherent moral superiority in a world government rather than nation-states. Sin is not banished by hegemonies or fear of tribunals. But sin will be recast as a failure to cooperate with your seduction. Government entitlements and unbridled but sterile sex (any persuasion) are the bread and circuses of our dimming day. It is perhaps no coincidence that the Rome statute was drawn at Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, adjacent to the Circo Massimo.
Sincethis Crisis article was written, there have been significant developments in the Rules and Procedures for the International Criminal Court (ICC). None of these developments protects US Constitutional freedoms, nor religious freedoms. The concerns for the freedom of the Church outlined in this article are as grave today as they were when it was originally published..
The "rights" protected by the ICC are not anchored to any unchanging standard. All such "rights" are defined by secular standards that are no longer informed by the Judeo-Christian moral law. The assault on the confessional seal has been eliminated, however, The ICC can be amended in 7 years, and we have no guarantee that the confessional seal will stand.
The Court can have grave consequences for Catholic practice, particularly in the areas of abortion, contraception and sexual morality. It is conceivable, for example, that refusal of the Church to approve homosexual unions, and the use of condoms would be labeled a "crime against humanity" simply because it denies "rights" of a specific population of people. This seems far-fetched, but consider the following situation.
In 2001 the European Parliament adopted a Charter of Fundamental Rights At that time, Cardinal Camillo Ruini warned that the charter had no reference to the "historical and cultural roots of Europe, in particular Christianity, which represents Europe's soul..." His remarks were soon followed by Cardinal Ratzinger's lament that the European constitution was not cognizant of "God and our responsibility before God." Cardinal Ratzinger had also spoken against the provision for homosexual unions in the European Charter. Soon thereafter there were formal complaints lodged with the Parliament about the "intolerance" of "fundamentalist religions."
Sarah Luford, a member of the European Parliament stated publicly, "I particularly oppose the efforts of religious groups to control moral issues at the European level, such as stem cell research and euthanasia."
Add to this growing animosity in governments toward the Church and her teachings, the campaigns to force the Church to provide "sexual and reproductive health care" (abortion, condoms) to people in the more than 250,000 hospitals and social agencies the Church sponsors or administers worldwide. AIDS is an epidemic that some international groups have tried to claim is partly the fault the Church because she prohibits the use of condoms. In my judgment, it is not long before an international campaign is mounted to charge the Church with "persecution" or even "genocide" against homosexuals due to the teaching against condoms, or to charge the Church with the wholesale infringement of homosexual "rights," or to charge her with "inciting hatred" for homosexuals based on Church teaching that it is an objective disorder.
Because the Church is an international institution with diplomatic and governmental relationships with nations, her administers will be categorized as heads-of state, and thus responsible for policies that the ICC may deem "criminal."
- MJA April, 2002
Mary Jo Anderson. "Stopping The International Criminal Court." Crisis 18, no. 9 (October 2000): 38-43.
This article is reprinted with permission from the Morley Institute a non-profit education organization. To subscribe to Crisis magazine call 1-800-852-9962.
With co-author Robin Bernhoft, she wrote Male and Female He Made Them: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions, published in 2005 by Catholic Answers. (Info:1-888-2918000 or Here Online.
Mary Jo and husband, Frank, live in Orlando, Florida, where they are members of St. James Cathedral parish, and of Legatus. They have three grown children and six grandchildren.Copyright © 2000 Crisis
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