Campaign Promises Could Lead to International Crimes for President Trump


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BEDMINSTER, NEW JERSEY – 19 NOVEMBER 2016: President-elect Donald Trump & Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with potential cabinet members at Trump International

By Christopher St. Aubin, Newspaper Staffer

Over the course of more than a year, we have heard frightening rhetoric from the new president, Donald Trump. Most people who dislike Trump look at what he has said as extremely insensitive and outlandish, but what if the things he says turn into real policies? Are there any ramifications? There has to be, right? Well, there are. However, Trump can’t actually be punished and that is what is the most frightening to the American people.

In 2002, the international community set out what it means to be an international criminal in the Rome Statute. This statute established the world’s first ever International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. For the last 15 years, the court has tried war criminals under four main charges: crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, war crimes and genocide. Now, I do not believe that Trump will become a genocidal dictator by any means. However, I would like to focus on the other three categories of crimes, and draw parallels between what Trump has said and how those proposed policies may infringe on human rights with some amounting to war crimes.

Article 7, section 1(h) of the Rome Statute stipulates that persecution on the basis of political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender identities is considered a crime against humanity. This is, perhaps, Trump’s most flagrant abuse of human rights. An example, out of many of his attacks on minorities, was suggesting a ban on Muslims from entering the United States. Excluding a whole group of people based solely on their religious beliefs should not be allowed and is utterly against the law. This is classified as a crime against humanity under article 7(d). Although Trump’s plan may come out of reactionary worry about the security of the country, he is also alienating almost a quarter of the world who are adherents to the Muslim faith. This deprivation of the 7th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ought not to be taken lightly, and should be checked. This is a man who is wholly immersed in a lifestyle, controlled by his fragile ego, that is outright denigrating toward minorities and opposing ideologies.

His discriminatory comments toward those who are critical of him are not conducive to the open and free society that Americans are so proud to call their own. Some may argue that these actions could be the precursors to worsened circumstances such as moderate forms of censored speech.

So, Trump takes away people’s human and unalienable rights, how does that make him a criminal? Let us look further into what defense strategies he has proposed. The president said last year that, “We should go much stronger than waterboarding.” Waterboarding is a form of torture that simulates drowning. Although it is well known that the U.S. used enhanced interrogation techniques in the past until a Senate investigation and the cessation by President Obama, the argument for continuation and even crueler forms of torture used by our new president raises eyebrows across the intelligence community and the world. In a legal sense, torture is banned due to its human rights violations. In the Rome Statute, torture is listed as both a crime against humanity and a war crime since it breaches the Geneva Conventions. Therefore, our new president could amount to a war criminal.

We all know how often Trump can change his statements, so none of these policies may ever be enacted. As we progress through the times of Trump, I sense a mellowing out of his most excited policies into a more practical and less atrocious policy. However, the American people learned how easy it is to sign an executive order during this last presidency. So, for the next four years, the American people must stay vigilant so that atrocity does not occur. Although the United States is not within the ICC’s jurisdiction, Americans have proven time and time again that they do not stand idly by when American values are being threatened.