A song which does not scan, for a world in which Human Rights do not scan either, and with all respect to the noble endeavour that is the International Criminal Court, created in 2002 by the Rome Statute, signed and ratified by 122 countries. Those who are not full parties include the USA, Russia, China, Israel, Myanmar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the Vogons. These countries are paragons of virtue and do not need to be told how to be good as they are permanently on Santa’s good list.
The Court’s founding treaty, called the Rome Statute, grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes.
First, the crime of genocide – the specific intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group by killing its members, causing serious bodily or mental harm to its members, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Second, crimes against humanity, which are serious violations committed as part of a large-scale attack against any civilian population. The 15 forms of crimes against humanity include murder, rape, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, enslavement, sexual slavery, torture, apartheid and deportation.
Third, war crimes which are grave breaches of the Geneva conventions – for instance, the use of child soldiers, the killing or torture of civilians or prisoners of war, or intentionally directing attacks against hospitals, historic monuments, or buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes.
Finally, the crime of aggression, the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State.
And so, bearing all these things in mind, the Twelve Days of Christmas, a short and random selection of today’s thus far unprosecuted genocide, war crimes, crime against humanity and crimes of aggression.
On the first day of Christmas the ICC … does nothing about a murdered journalist in an Embassy
On the second day of Christmas, Sri Lanka continues to torture dozens of suspected LTTE whilst holds nobody to account for wartime atrocities…. they have not signed the Rome Treaty.
On the third day of Christmas the US prepares for pre-trial hearings to discover whether evidence they obtained by waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed 183 times will be admissible in court… It has not signed the Rome Treaty.
On the fourth day of Christmas Israel makes it policy to refuse to return the corpses of at least 52 Palestinians to Gaza, contravening International Humanitarian Law which applies to acts by the military (and common decency). It has not signed the Rome Treaty.
On the fifth day of Christmas we all hate ISIL but the ICC will never have chance to prosecute any of them as the US keep killing them with drones, cleverly.
On the sixth day of Christmas Syria’s President Assad, despite targeting hospitals, torturing doctors, executing dissidents, besieging towns, starving residents, deploying barrel bombs and chlorine and not giving Idlib anything for Christmas… is protected by Russia from the ICC.
On the seventh day of Christmas the fact that 1558 environmental activists have been killed in 50 countries (particularly Brazil) since 2002 trying to protect land, water or wildlife is referred to by Greta Thunberg. President Bolsanaro (of Brazil) calls her a brat. Saving the planet is not a matter for the ICC.
On the eight day of Christmas the Kurds, who nobly but foolishly put their freedom fighters all in one place to defeat ISIL, awaits annihilation by Turkey… Which has not signed the Rome Treaty.
On the ninth day of Christmas whilst those who try to get to Europe by boat drown or are traded as slaves in Libya, those who try to rescue them from drowning await prosecution in Greece… Although not by the ICC.
On the Tenth Day of Christmas famine deaths in Yemen are estimated at 85,000 but they do not know it’s Christmas and Bob Geldof is unable to get in to help. Saudi Arabia has not signed the Rome Treaty. The UN Security council members who might refer it there are supplying the bombs… and will not refer it to the ICC.
On the Eleventh day of Christmas the case of the 800,000 Rohingya is referred to the ICC by Gambia. Aung Sun Suu Kyi turns up to tell everyone Myanmar is misunderstood and has not signed the Rome treaty… And so cannot be prosecuted as long as China vetos its referral it to the ICC.
On the twelfth day of Christmas the ICC is powerless against China’s genocidal abuse of 1 million imprisoned Uighurs because China does not have Human Rights, has not signed the Rome Treaty, is a permanent member of the UN security council and supplies everyone’s batteries.