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President Donald Trump at a luncheon in the Cabinet Room at the White House. President Donald Trump at a luncheon with members of the United Nations Security Council in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Washington, Dec. 5, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Trump’s Abuses of Power Expose the Hollow Claims of American Exceptionalism

Friday, Dec. 6, 2019

While all eyes seemed to be on the impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee in Washington this week, another judicial drama was unfolding at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. On Thursday, Helen Brady, a lawyer for the ICC’s chief prosecutor, argued that the court overstepped its mandate in April when it rejected the prosecutor’s request to open a formal investigation into alleged atrocities and abuses committed by U.S., Afghan and Taliban forces in the war in Afghanistan.

It is a case that could have profound implications not only for President Donald Trump’s promise to negotiate an end to the war with the Taliban, but for international justice writ large. Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, was even at the ICC this week to argue that the court has no jurisdiction over alleged abuses committed by U.S. troops and members of the CIA. Closing arguments from a number of other parties, including lawyers for the Afghan government and Afghan victims, are set to end this week. But it may be a while before the ICC decides whether its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, can move forward with an investigation. ...

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