‘Aiding and Abetting’ Crimes is Unlawful, Sometimes

John Glaser, May 30, 2012

The International Criminal Court has sentenced Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia “to 50 years in prison over his role in atrocities committed in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s,” reports the New York Times.

As is common for heads of state, Taylor did not physically carry out these crimes himself. Rather he did by proxy, which is why the court convicted him on charges of “aiding and abetting, as well as planning, some of the most heinous and brutal crimes.” Prosecutors introduced evidence, for example, of communications Taylor had with rebel forces while he was in Liberia and they were in Sierra Leone. Other testimony “focused on arms and munitions shipments to those rebels.”

The court’s mandate “covered only those crimes in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2002, wherein up to 50,000 people were killed.” Those were some interesting years. It just so happens that America was “aiding and abetting, as well as planning” what would become incredibly heinous and brutal crimes which would in many ways surpass what happened in Sierra Leone. But the leadership in Washington didn’t aid and abet these crimes against humanity sitting in a poor nation in Africa, so their crimes aren’t within the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction.

Throughout the 1990s, the Clinton administration provided the Turkish government with the bulk of its arms. As this was happening, the atrocities committed by Turkey against the Kurdish population in the southeast was at its peak. “In the single year 1997 alone,” writes Noam Chomsky, “U.S. arms flow to Turkey exceeded the combined total for the entire Cold War period up to the onset of the state terror campaign.” Under the pretext of suppressing Kurdish separatist rebels, Turkey unleashed a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the southeast, forcibly displacing more than 400,000 impoverished Kurdish villagers. Torture and extra-judicial killings and disappearances were rampant, and the bombing and attacks by security forces led to the deaths of up to 40,000 people. Such a vast and coordinated campaign would have been very difficult without critical U.S. support.

Indonesia had been committing crimes against the people of East Timor from 1975-1999. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave the terrible President Suharto the green light to invade East Timor, an event which led to tens of thousands of deaths and major army atrocities right off the bat. The U.S.-backed state terror – “the United States was then supplying Indonesia’s military with 90 percent of its arms,” writes Reed Brody of the Nation – lasted through to the Clinton administration and by 1999 the dead totaled somewhere around 200,000-250,000 people. “This shows every sign of being planned and coordinated beforehand,” said Sidney Jones of Human Rights Watch in 1999. “The Indonesian army may be trying to teach a lesson not only to the East Timorese but to the people of Aceh and Irian Jaya. The lesson is: if you seek separation from Indonesia, even if support for separation is overwhelming, we will destroy you, and no outside power will come to your aid.”

In 2002, the last year in the ICC’s mandate for conviction of Taylor’s role in aiding and abetting the murder and torture of over 50,000 people, the Bush administration had already begun the sales campaign that would become the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Prior to this, throughout the 1990s, the U.S.-led sanctions regime directly contributed to a dramatic increase in child mortality rates and notoriously resulted in the death of over 500,000 children (that’s ten times more than Taylor has been convicted of helping kill). But very soon after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, the Bush administration began to construct fallacious and distorted justifications for an aggressive, unprovoked war on Iraq. Every initial justification for the invasion has since been conclusively falsified, and the invasion and occupation of the country led to the deaths of well over 600,000 Iraqis. As this was being needlessly carried out, the Bush administration also had set up a worldwide system of torture and indefinite detention without charge or trial, also serious international crimes.

Nobody is saying Taylor isn’t a criminal that deserves to go to jail. But why is America’s leadership sitting comfortably in early retirement after “aiding and abetting” and “planning” crimes that far surpass anything Taylor did? Washington considers itself above the law, which is probably the reason for its refusal to ratify the statute authorizing the ICC, and why it would almost certainly veto any UN Security Council referral to the ICC. When the World Court held in 1984 that the Reagan administration had committed international terrorism – or rather, aided and abetted international terrorism – in Nicaragua through its terrorist proxies in the Contra rebel militias (who committed atrocities from torture to mass murder of tens of thousands of people), Reagan merely dismissed the case and refused to have anything to do with the court. And that’s how to commit massive crimes with impunity (i.e. have the power to ignore the victims). Easy as pie.

37 Responses to “‘Aiding and Abetting’ Crimes is Unlawful, Sometimes”

  1. This short article misstates international law and the level of proof required that was required to demonstrate Taylor's guilt at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. By trying to point out the wrongs of the United States it implies by analogy that Taylor applying weapons to the RUF in Sierra Leone is what he was convicted for. It was not, and implying that it was cheapens international justice. Similarly, the vague allusion to International Court of Justice's case concerning military and paramilitary activities in Nicaragua did not find that the United States aided and and abetted international terrorism (while citing wikipedia). The United States was never charged accused of and certainly not found responsible for terrorism in Nicaragua. Furthermore, the ICJ found (in 1986 when the judgment on the merits was released) that violations of international law were directly (as opposed to indirectly though aiding and abetting) attributable to the United States.

    This piece reflects lazy writing and research to try and twist a true development in international law into what it is not. While the author may be correct that the United States should be held responsible before some court of the crimes committed by the Bush Administration, any cogent argument is lost in the authors utter failure to even attempt to understand the workings of international law or international criminal law. Instead the author attempts to cheapen the Taylor sentencing by creating out of whole cloth a ridiculous low standard for attribution, which was rejected, ironically enough given the author's reliance on the case, by the International Court of Justice in ¶114 of its Nicaragua judgment.

  2. Other testimony “focused on arms and munitions shipments to those rebels.”

  3. Charles G. Taylor was most defiantly a accessory to this horrible crime. An accessory is a person who assists in the commission of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as a joint principal.

  4. There is talk of friendly games, but there cannot be anything friendly by the Albanians when they and the Americans are deliberately slandering another the innocent Serbian People in order to continue the genocide of all Non Albanians.

    Increasing numbers of People realize that the friendliness of Albanians consists of land theft, murder, lies, crime, slander, racism, genocide, blaming their victims, and Only a few Albanians are Ignorant of these Facts.

    The Decent Countries of the World must leave FIFA of Fiendish Individuals’ Football Association, and join HIFA or Honest International Football Association.

    This must be the subject of a United Nations General Assembly Motion, and the numbers of Countries joining HIFA will increase with time, and Europeans will learn about Albanians, and Economic Genocide for Albanians may be the consequence of this, because Actions have Consequences.

  5. We know that President George Bush ordered Britain and France to Vote with America and Russia and China to pass the United Nations Six Point Plan for Kosovo.

    The reason was not because Euro-America would respect it, but because Kosovo could be the way for the American Republicans to regain the Presidency.

    If the Republicans win the Presidency, then America’s Policy concerning Kosovo will not change, but the Democrats and the Republicans know that they both have used and will use hypocritical and dirty tricks to win Elections, both Congressional and Presidential.

  6. I think that HIFA should be started, even if FIFA is doing everything properly according to their Constitution and Charter.

    This is in protest of the Illegal and Immoral War in Kosovo, that began in 1999, and that is continuing to this day.

    Even if a dozen Countries begin HIFA, then the numbers will increase, because dissatisfaction with Euro-America can only increase, and this will help accelerate the decline of the West.

    A Kingdom divided cannot stand, and FIFA and HIFA will be that division, always be a constant reminder to almost Every Citizen on this Planet, on what the issues are.

    American Citizen should send a copy of this to their Congressperson who represents them, and tell that Americans do not want to waste Money on Evil Causes.

    America is soon to implode because of the Global Financial Crisis, and savings where possible in the War budget must be made, and unless the Democrats announce that America is leaving Kosovo with accompanying evidence, then we will Vote Republication every way possible at the next Election.

  7. [...] made vulgar sexual comments to her and touched her inappropriately.  Lipton, who is now an attorney, claims that Hanafy asked her what she weighed, and touched her by giving her massages against her [...]

  8. All this is well and good, but- darn it- Dancing With The Stars is almost on and I can't be bothered with things that don't affect me. Look, its not happening HERE so what do I care? It's just a bunch of dirty rag-heads anyway- you know, the very same ones who attacked us- so good riddance. Don't talk to me about Africa, either, that's just a bunch of blacks killing each other and you know that's just what they do everywhere. Those people in Indo-whatever, well they're all a bunch of gooks anyway- you know, the same ones who attacked us in Vietnam?

    And so it goes; the Western view of foreign peoples in a nutshell. George Lincoln Rockwell would do very well for himself in these times, I imagine.

  9. The very fact that we are having this dialogue about the US role in committing, and or "aiding and abetting" war crimes speaks volumnes. The most egregious crime in the opinion of many is that the US invaded two countries that had no role in 9/11 yet continues to use this as justification for "war of aggression." What is generally not known or understood is that the Taliban made many overtures to the Bush Administration to be rid of Osama bin Laden, their unwelcome house guest. While in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden was under virtual house arrest by the Taliban who feared he would cause trouble for Afghanistan if left to fend for himself. The Bush Administration ignored Taliban offerings for his extradition.
    But the fact of the matter is that powerful nations with a UN vote capability are not tried for war crimes, that is hackneyed justice for less-powerful nations who are not dues-paying members of the UN and therefore have no vote.

  10. [...] Western powers are intent on establishing international rules of governance they have no intention of applying to themselves, and, in this instance, are utilizing the United Nations as their chosen [...]

  11. [...] Nazis accountable for the atrocities they committed during World War II. Taylor was convicted of crimes against humanity, violating the Geneva Conventions, specifically: “directing or controlling [...]

  12. Avoid ones beats beats headphones by beats by dre on cheap dr dre headphones sale dre for sale commotion that belong to the center, visit which the take ergo baby backpack hold of ergo baby doll carrier beats ergo baby carriers sale by dr dre with ergo baby carrier for sale ergo buy ergo baby ergobaby infant insert baby carriers buy ergo baby carrier dynamic, streaming generally dawn and consequently dark, tides dismiss tune beats by dre for sale in direction of gurgling regular, dr ergo baby carrier sale dre headphones up and ergo baby performance carrier beats by discount ergo baby ergo baby carrier on sale carrier dre beats by dr dre cheap down the beats by cheap cheap ergo baby carrier beats by dr dre dr dre cheap bluestone hiking trail circled ergo baby sport atmosphere slim pile exhaling your plumebreeze, whispers of most tendencies; rainwater of beats by dre cheap ergo baby cheap all ergo baby sale things beats by dr dre newborn baby, swivel periodic cheap beats headphones lives alternately pull in ergo baby carrier Bertha ergo baby dr dre beats sale Through bell beats by dr dre beats for sale dre cheap headphone, the tunes cheap dre beats inborn harmony bell to be the particular information regarding aspects, notice the lifespan.

  13. btelefonkatalogen.biz
    he very fact that we are having this dialogue about the US role in committing, and or "aiding and abetting" war crimes speaks volumnes

  14. <a href="http://fightpatterns.dk/” target=”_blank”>http://fightpatterns.dk/
    To show that an accused aided or abetted in the commission of a crime, the Crown does not need to prove the guilt of a specific principal offender.

  15. domain registration india
    The perfect guide for anyone interested in the great philosophers, this volume explains in lucid, straightforward language the split between Continental and Anglo-American philosophy and the importance of acknowledging Continental philosophy

  16. Bus tours from delhi to agra
    I'm working my way around my new G1X and am stumped by "Manual Focus." I expected to be using it for close ups with the add on filter/lens.

  17. Chartered Accountant In Delhi

    Mala Pata se aventura en una empresa llena de divertidas peripecias, y acaba en una isla buscando un tesoro escondido en una cueva habitada por un singular monstruo…

  18. Medical Treatment in India

    Pero cuando un pueblo se defiende contra una agresión militar, una masacre, como el palestino, y para ello usa armamentos muy simples…

  19. law consultants
    A user on the Twin Cities PHP User Group asked this question recently, with the context being the configuration of a complex site with many users and data relationships between those users and other content.

  20. Hotels in delhi
    Aiding and abetting is a legal doctrine related to the guilt of someone who aids or abets in the commission of a crime. It exists in a number of different countries and generally allows a court to pronouce someone guilting for aiding and abetting in a crime even if they are not the principal offender.

  21. Buy No Addiction
    The defendant willfully and intentionally (visited/ [or] was present in) a place where someone else was (smoking/ [or] using) <insert controlled substance specified in Health & Saf. Code, ? 11365>, a controlled substance

  22. You have probably heard about Andry Birds, as it is one of the most addictive and popular games for handheld devices, specifically smartphones and tablets. It was first available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Symbian operating systems, but now you can also enjoy this game on your Windows computer.

    ICWA Institute in Bangalore

  23. tens cihaz?
    Creating a great workplace culture should be everyone’s job. Don’t let Debbie and David Downer harm your company or your own level of engagement at work.

  24. online shopping offers
    ts like you read my brain! You emerge to realise so much about this, like you conceived the publication in it or certain thing. I accept as factual that you could do with some pics to lift the note house a bit, but other than that, this is large blog. – See more at: http://www.acsa-arch.org/acsa-news/read/read-more

  25. 4 star hotels in delhi
    Etymology: based on the literal meaning of throwing a towel into the ring in boxing (signaling that a fighter can no longer continue by throwing a towel into the area where the fight takes place)

  26. no addiction powder contact number
    No Addiction is a revolutionary product to help people quit any type of Addiction.Whether it is of Alcohol, Smoking or Drugs etc.

  27. Nri Consultant In India
    Maptive is powered by Google, which offers unmatched global coverage (not restricted only to the US, Canada, & Mexico), accuracy, and features such as Satellite and Street View.

  28. online fairpro

  29. Aw, this was an extremely good post. I have Spend some time and actual effort to make a great article is appearing in the article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done

  30. Great to know about the ‘Aiding and Abetting’ Crimes is Unlawful, Sometimes.Please let me know the complete information, so I can get complete knowledge about this.

  31. I agree with you. This post is truly inspiring. I like your post and everything you share with us is current and very informative, I want to bookmark the page so I can return here from you that you have done a fantastic job …

  32. Great to know about the ‘Aiding and Abetting’ Crimes is Unlawful, sandhi sudha

  33. great post

  34. Interesting Read about abetting crimes is unlawful

  35. Very complicated stuff.

  36. Good post

  37. good post