US Petitions The ICC For War Crimes; and Beyond Fossil Law: Climate, Courts, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future

US Petitions The ICC For War Crimes

As the war in Ukraine continues to rage, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that “encourages member states to petition the [International Criminal Court] or other appropriate international tribunal to take any appropriate steps to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian Armed Forces.” Yet the United States has consistently undermined the ICC. The U.S. government thinks the ICC is reliable enough to try Russians but not U.S. or Israeli officials.

Today on Law and Disorder we will examine the matter of what constitutes war crimes, whether war crimes have been committed by either side in Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the role of the International Criminal Court in adjudicating whether or not war crimes have in fact been committed.

Guest – Marjorie Cohn – Law and Disorder co-host, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace, and the bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. She writes a regular column on Truthout and provides frequent legal and political commentary for local, national and international media. Her books include Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues.

Beyond Fossil Law: Climate, Courts, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future

The technology exists to halt and reverse the ongoing catastrophe of climate change. What is lacking is the political will to do it.

It is legal in the United States to put millions of tons of poison into the air but it is illegal to disrupt this ecocide. Our courts and Congress defend this ecocide. What is to be done?

In 2016, four people known as “the valve turners“ shut down four pipelines in the states of Washington, Montana, Minnesota, and North Dakota. They were arrested and tried. How did the valve turners defend themselves? They mounted the defense of necessity.

The necessity defense is the legal concept that a person can commit a minor crime in order to prevent a larger one. In this case the valve turners admitted to trespass on oil pipeline company property in order to prevent their ongoing contribution to the crisis of climate change.

Guest – Attorney Ted Hamilton, author of the just-published book, “Beyond Fossil Law: Climate, Courts, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future.“ Bill McKibben describes Ted Hamilton book as “a sweeping account of how the legal system enables the ongoing destruction of the planet.“. Ted Hamilton is a climate movement lawyer, writer, and literary scholar. After law school, he co-founded the Climate Defense Project, which provides legal assistance to climate justice activists including the valve turners. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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