Belmont Club

Arresting the Hezbollah

The Globe and Mail reports, “Warrants issued for the arrest of four men wanted for the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri have the potential to tear Lebanon apart – but don’t expect the men to stand trial or even be arrested any time soon.”


The men reportedly include Mustafa Badreddine, said to have been Hezbollah’s deputy military commander, and brother-in-law of the late Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh. The others – Salim Ayyash, also known as Abu Salim; Assad Sabra and Hassan Anise, who changed his name to Hassan Issa – are relative unknowns. …

“If they try to serve the warrants they’ll be blocked,” Mr. Makdisi said. And if they ever should actually arrest someone, all hell will break loose.

The trouble with “international law” is it needs projectable force to enforce it. If the system could do without it, then President Obama wouldn’t have to ask for funding to prosecute the non-war against Libya. The warrant against Khadaffy would for example serve itself. One professor says that the ICC’s main defect is that it won’t Americans. But he’s got the problem completely backwards. If the ICC ever issued such a warrant, the odds are that President Obama would fall all over himself to comply, provided the party named was not himself.

Many Western officials have hailed the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue arrest warrants for Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, his son, Saif and his intelligence chief Abdualla Al-Senussi for crimes against humanity as a breakthrough in the war against Libya’s leader. … these arrest warrants may diminish the credibility of the ICC … mbedded in a system of governance that forecloses the prosecution of officials of the great powers (in particular the US, Britain, China, Russia and France). Not a single official from one of these states has been indicted before an international criminal court since 1945.


On the other hand Khadaffy and Hezbollah will simply defy the warrant. Their refrain is Bob Marley’s famous line. “I shot the sheriff. But I didn’t shoot no deputy.”

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