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Can U.S. Military Men And Women Be Tried For Crimes In The European International Criminal Court? – Jordan Sekulow: This week we have special guest Jordan Sekulow from the American Center for Law and Justice join us. Can a US soldier be held liable for crimes, that are defined by a nation that we do not have a good relationship with? Can they be arrested for crimes allegedly commitment outside the nation they are currently in? Tune in now to learn more!

Air Date: 12/30/2019

Guest: Jordan Sekulow

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick Green:

Welcome to the Intersection of Faith in the Culture with us live where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy faith and the culture. Always from a biblical historical and constitutional perspective. My name is Rick Green. I”€™m America”€™s Constitution coach and a former state legislator. I’m here with David Barden. He is America’s premier historian and the founder of Wall Builders. And Tim Barden with us, he’s a national speaker and pastor and president of Wall Builders.

Most importantly we’re glad you are with us and you are going to love today’s program. It’s going to be very exciting but before we get to that I would encourage you to visit our web sites wallbuilders.com and wallbuilderslive.com.

At that wallbuilderslive.com web site, there is a ton of information including archives of the program from previous weeks if you missed those, you can grab one right now at our web site and get caught up. Some great interviews in there, some great presentations, lots of good information to equip and inspire you to be a good citizen and help us restore America’s Constitution.

Make A Donation To WallBuilders Live

And one of the best ways you can do that is click on the contribute button there at wallbuilderslive.com and make that one time or monthly donation. Here we are at the end of the year, a perfect time for you to make that end of the year tax-deductible donation, it”€™s how this program works. We are a listener-supported program, so thank you, all of you out there, from all across the nation so, many different places that folks contribute and help us do this. Thank you for doing that. And for those of you that haven’t done that yet and I have been thinking about it now is a perfect time. We would sure appreciate it.

Jordan Sekulow Will Be With Us

Okay, guys later in the program, Jordan Sekulow will be with us from the American Center for Law and Justice. We’re actually talking about an issue for our military men and women that’s outside the U.S., actually deals with an international criminal court. This is going to be a bit of a new subject for me and I think many of our listeners.

Can a U.S. soldier Be Held Liable For Crimes

David Barton:

You’re right Rick, it will be a new subject for our listeners. It”€™s going to seem a really strange subject. Can a U.S. soldier be held liable for crimes if those crimes are defined by a nation that we don’t have a good relationship with? In other words, let”€™s say you’ve got something…..

Rick Green:

And also by the way maybe in a nation that they did not commit the crime in.

David Barton:

That’s right.

Rick Green:

Or that is not alleging that the crime was committed in that area.

So let’s say for example a U.S. military, there was a conflict in Syria, there was a conflict in Iran or Afghanistan. And all of a sudden you’re going on some vacation with a spouse over to Eastern Europe to go see, right, whatever it is. You know Rome, Greece, Italy, something and you land, they check your passport, go “Oh wait a second, you’re a soldier, you’re in this war, we’re arresting you. We’re putting you in jail for crimes that we’re alleging you committed that were not committed in this nation. That seems utterly farfetched but that’s exactly what the conversation is about.

Its Crimes You Didn’t Even Know You’ve Committed

David Barton: Yeah. And its crimes you didn’t even know you’ve committed. Somebody else has defined them or redefine them for you. And so what’s happening over in Europe with the International Criminal Court, they’re trying, and even though America is not a member of the International Criminal Court, they’re trying to impose on America their right to hold us to their standards and their right to prosecute us if we don’t live by their standards.

And that’s just a really, really dangerous thing to do because we’re not a signatory to that group or those treaties or anything else. So that really is the question that that is facing Americans.

And what”€™s interesting was I saw a news report that Jay Sekulow is over in Europe and he’s arguing this case in front of a court because they’re asserting or they’re questioning whether they can have jurisdiction over American soldiers and settings that we’ve not agreed to be part of or be in.

Does The European International Criminal Court Have Jurisdiction Over U.S. Soldiers?

Rick Green: So yeah, there’s a group of nations and kind of this universal court, a little bit like the U.N. where there are nations that have come together said,” hey let’s work together, let’s make things better.” So there’s this group of nations that have come together and they said, “We will uphold justice together if anytime a nation or a group of nations get together.” And they’re going to talk about upholding justice. You always just like to know, well who are the players in these nations that are pulling justice? Because right now looking at the world there is an awful lot of communist nations with Communist dictators, tyrannical leaders where they execute people, where slavery is legal in their nation, right. I mean you can go down the list of atrocities.

David Barton:

But you do have good news and that Iran was now put on the U.N. Women Rights Council.

Rick Green:

Yeah.

David Barton:

That’s the kind of situation you’re talking about, right.

Rick Green:

Yeah. And so saying good news, that’s very tongue in cheek because that’s, yeah. They’re not all of the sudden now being super respectful to women and women aren’t having these special right.

No, no, no, that’s not what’s happening. But to your point or actually the point I was making you’re commenting on, right. This is what is happening is, our European nations who don’t like America, who don’t like what we stand for and they’re now agreeing that, “hey we should have the authority to accuse America of war crimes and then if any of their soldiers come inside of our borders, we can hold them, we can take them to trial and we can put them in prison for war crimes they committed in other nations, not against us, in other nations but we will hold them guilty for that.

This Is Actually The Discussion That Was Happening

And this is what actually the discussion that was happening which, you know, thank God for people like, Jay Sekulow and ACLJ and what they do. And so he went over to represent American soldiers saying, “Yeah, you guys really don’t have the jurisdiction or the authority to do this. This would be catastrophic for you.”

Right? I mean, kind of go down the list and to get better context understanding, we thought we really need to reach out and see if we can get somebody who’s been a part of this to let us know what’s going on.

And even though Jay has been a little busy with this whole process and proceedings, his son Jordan who we have also met and known for many years, his son Jordan said,” Yeah, guys I can give you the brief on what’s going on.” So we said, “Jordan, please come let us know what has been going on.”

Jordan also works with his dad at the ACLJ, they have both European offices in the United States. They do a lot helping protect Americans, not just in America but around the world. Stay with us folks, Jordan Sekulow when we return right here on Web Builders Live.

Front Sight Firearms Training Institute

Rick Green: Hey friends, Rick Green here from Wall Builders Live. What do Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, Ben Shapiro, Rick Greene, Tim Barton, David Barton and all these folks have in common other than the fact that they’re conservative commentators that defend the Constitution and educate America on the Constitution? They’re all raving about front sight firearms training institute.

In fact, if you go to my web site right now today at rickgreen.com, you can watch the video of Dennis Prager training at front side or Larry Elder training in front side or Tim Barton and myself training out their front sight. It’s an opportunity for you to learn how to defend yourself and your family to make sure that you’re ready and able to do that. It is a fantastic place to train. They train literally thirty, forty thousand people a year and they’re just wonderful to work with.

And you can go with us, we’re headed back out. We’re going to have a great time out there as the Wall Builders family and if you’re a supporter of Wall Builders, we have an amazing deal for you. It’s actually going to cost you one-tenth, the normal price to attend this two-day handgun training because you’re going with us and you’ll also get the constitution crash course.

I’ll be teaching on the constitution you get the intellectual ammunition that you need to defend the Second Amendment and our Constitution as well as getting the physical training on how to defend yourself and your family. And this is for everyone, guys, gals, everyone should take this class no matter how much you’ve shot your own life or if you’ve never touched a gun, learn how to defend your family. We’re going to be going several times throughout the year and we would love to have you be a part of that.

Check out rickgreen.com today to find out the dates and all the specifics and get all of your questions answered. Check out rickgreen.com today to join us on this front sight trip for both your constitutional and your handgun defense training.

Jordan Sekulow From ACLJ

Rick Green:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on Wall Builders Live. Jordan Sekulow is with us. Always good to have anybody here from ACLJ. We love you guys. Thanks for all that you do, appreciate your time today man.

Jordan Sekulow:

Thanks Rick. Thanks for having me.

Rick Green:

Hey, what is going on with this International Criminal Court? I’m going to ask you to forgive me for also being an attorney but I don’t know much about this. And actually I’m sure our audience doesn’t either. So speak to me like a third-grader, brother.

Jordan Sekulow:

Yeah.

How Are Our Troops Subject To This

Rick Green:

And tell me how in the world our troops are subject to this thing.

Jordan Sekulow:

Well that’s what we’re trying to prevent. The International Criminal Court was created by an International Treaty called the Rome Statute back in the 1990s, went into force in 2002.

About two-thirds of the countries in the world including both countries that border the U.S., Mexico, and Canada joined the International Criminal Court, giving that court jurisdiction over serious crimes.

We’re talking about war crime, crimes against humanity, genocide. If those countries were to be alleged to have committed those acts or are alleging that others committed those acts.

Now, though two thirds of the world”€™s country, Rick, did sign on, those countries that only represent interesting enough, one third of the world’s population. So countries like the U.S., Russia, China, Israel, Pakistan, India, the big major countries around the world did not sign on to this agreement.

The Court Should Not Have Jurisdiction Over Our Soldiers

And that does for the most part, the court should not have jurisdiction over our soldiers or any of the other countries who have not signed on to International Criminal Court jurisdiction.

Now, this isn’t the first time we have a European office the ACLJ based in Strasbourg, France because that’s where the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights is based, that we’ve been involved with the ICC.

We’ve been involved the ICC on behalf of Israel’s interests before and I say interest because that’s what’s important. When you’re not a member state, you don’t go and argue, even if it’s a position that you strongly oppose.

Because if you or anybody who knows law just a little bit knows that even if you’re claiming that someone doesn’t have jurisdiction over you and you show up to make your argument, well they at least have jurisdiction over you for that argument.

David Barton:

That’s right.

We Got This Unique Position This Time

Jordan Sekulow:

At that trial. So the U.S., we got this unique position this time around where the lower court of the ICC, the appeals, the pretrial appeals chamber actually said to the prosecutor of the ICC, “There’s no jurisdiction here. You cannot conduct this investigation into possible war crimes by the Afghan forces, U.S. forces and the CIA or the Taliban. It’s just not going to happen, we don”€™t have the resources.” They didn’t really get to the jurisdiction issue over the United States. They kind of were able to put a halt to the investigation, even starting before even going that far. But the prosecutor using her right to appeal and her office”€™s right to appeal, appealed to their highest level court which is called the Appeals Chamber.

We Wanted To Stop This From Even Starting This Investigation 

It’s made up of five judges. One of those judges had to recuse himself because of criticism of the United States and that actually is the president of the court. So he was replaced by a different judge.

We submitted kind of like a brief in the case, it’s like an amicus brief, a friend of the court brief, but we were then asked by the ICC because we were basically the only group advocating against ICC jurisdiction over U.S. troops.

And so we were actually asked by the ICC not just to file a written, a kind of amicus brief but to actually present an oral argument. And the way they do trials over three days, so what happened over December 4th, 5th and 6th, my dad went over, taking it very seriously, so we sent our chief counsel over to lead this case.

And because since the United States could not represent itself, we had to be there to represent the interests of our U.S. troops and CIA field officers from this. We wanted to stop this from even starting this investigation really.

Rick Green:

Yeah, cut it off.

Jordan Sekulow:

Nip it in the bud.

Rick Green:

Yeah, yeah.

Jordan Sekulow:

Yeah. Because here’s what’s dangerous about it. If she gets the green light to investigate, this is why it’s so serious for our U.S. troops including our veterans of Afghanistan, is that if she gets the green light and then finds that she wants to indict, you know, that she wants to issue warrants, well the US is not going to turn over obviously our troops.

So if you’re inside the United States, no big deal. But let’s say you travel to Mexico or Canada and you’re one of these individuals she wants to indict and you may not even know about it.

But they’re tracking you because they really want to get you know U.S. troops in their court system. They haven’t found you guilty yet, but they want to put you on trial. Mexico, Canada, most of South America, all of Western Europe, a lot of places that people travel to when they go overseas, love the Caribbean as well for vacations too.

Rick Green:

They sign on.

It Would Be Under A Tremendous Amount Of Pressure To Turn You Over

Jordan Sekulow:

They have signed on. It would be under a tremendous amount of pressure to turn you over to the International Criminal Court. Now the U.S. at that point to try to intervene but it would be a very difficult situation because those countries have agreed to do that. So, we presented our arguments over three days.

They kind of rested on two points. One, the ICC basic, the basic argument, does it have jurisdiction when it comes to a non-member state, when it comes to the United States. And two, when the United States did engage in the conflict with Afghanistan.

It’s interesting, Afghanistan is a partner, is a member of the International Criminal Court. But before joining the ICC, Afghanistan signed a bilateral, it’s called a Status of Forces Agreement with the United States.

It said any allegation of wrongdoing by our troops or U.S. officials on the ground in Afghanistan or relating to Afghanistan and the conflict there will be tried and handled by our military justice system or our legal system in the United States. That we won”€™t be turning anyone over to Afghanistan for trial. And Afghanistan agreed and signed that.

Lex Speciality

So we also had the second argument that even if you thought you could somehow get jurisdiction, we’ve got what”€™s called it Lex Specialty. A very specific agreement between two parties, to say that we are not going to have this turn over happened. So we presented these arguments.

The court had questions for my dad which is when you have this, there were like 18 different participants in this. So for him to get, I think three questions, pretty intensive questions too, from the court was a good sign. The court realized that they may be, I think, going too far. There are ways for them to kind of hunt this question down the road and they indicated they might want to have an actual trial just on this situation involving the United States. But even Afghanistan came in the country, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan came in and argued against the ICC having jurisdiction here…

Rick Green:

No kidding.

Jordan Sekulow:

….saying, they’ve got there, they’re trying to set their court system. They want to be responsible for this on their own and that this would take away their chance of actually setting up a real court system.

So even though they’re a member state, they oppose it. So it could be a very serious, but it was, I will you this, it was a very unique opportunity for us at the ACLJ and our ECLJ counterparts to be able to be there to represent the interests of those troops who usually are the ones defending us in this time because the U.S. could not do it officially, we were able to do so.

Rick Green:

And that has got at is actually very cool. I mean like you said, these are the folks usually defending us and we always, I don’t know about you but I always struggle a little bit with, how do you really say thank you to those that are willing to lay down their lives for us? How do we adequately honor them? What a great way to honor them and to be able to step in and defend them for a change?

We Jumped On The Opportunity

Jordan Sekulow:

Yeah absolutely. I mean we jumped on the opportunity, we’ve had the history of working with the ICC before because of our European affiliate, and we”€™ve been able to do that. So we jumped at the opportunity. What we didn’t know and what we didn’t find out until late October, is that the ICC actually wanted us not just to present our written position but to actually go and present orally. And I think that this will actually allow us to engage more with the ICC, because it’s not so much the judges of the court but it certainly is the prosecutors.

We’ve seen this time that they’re on their second prosecutor now, they serve a term of nine years. Their prosecutors who have wanted to try and get jurisdiction over two main countries that are not members. You can probably guess which ones. The U.S. and Israel.

Rick Green:

No kidding.

I See More Work To Be Done

Jordan Sekulow:

I see more work to be done. We encourage people to go to ACLJ, you can actually watch, unlike our Supreme Court, their highest court is that it has pretty high-quality video, so you can actually see my dad doing this, answering the questions and we’ve got that up at ACLJ.org. So you can see kind of high level of international law that we also practice through the work that we do as an organization, not just the U.S. constitutional law work.

Go To ACLJ.org And Sign The Petition

Rick Green: We’ll definitely do a link to that on our website today, so you can go straight there to ACLJ.org. And then the petition also, you know, gives you guys a little ammunition just to be able to say, “Hey, look we got this many Americans who have signed onto this petition to say let’s not let this happen.” At some point, you know, people often hear these programs say, “Well, what can I do about it?”

Well even just put your name on this petition helps the ACLJ to fight this fight. So it’s the Don’t Prosecute Our Brave Soldiers petition, you go to ACLJ.org and we’ll make it easy today WallBuildersLive.com with a link. Jordan, you guys do incredible work, man. Keep up the fantastic work and let us know, any time, we’d love to have you on and update us on some of the cases you guys are working on.

You Get To See My Dad In Action

Jordan Sekulow:

Absolutely. Thanks Rick. This is a really important one, so I encourage people. And I really do encourage them too to see because so few times you get to see my dad in action at the highest levels our courts. You do get to hear it at the Supreme Court but you don’t get to watch it.

You get to watch this at the International Criminal Court and get to see this very different court system but at their highest level. And to see just, to see the knowledge that we have on international law, international law of war and conflict. I think it’s great for your audience to check that out at ACLJ.org as well as sign the petition.

Rick Green:

Yeah and you’re right. It is something that most people don’t even realize. I mean we typically associate you guys to defending religious liberty and a lot of these U.S. cases obviously that you all have done before the Supreme Court and others.

But it’s a whole other level at the at the international level and I just love, I love this, you know, is this picture of literally standing in the gap for those that have done so for us and in so many ways. Jordan, God bless you guys, you keep up the great work and let’s get you back soon.

Jordan Sekulow:

Thank you Rick. Thank you.

Rick Green:

Stay with us folks. Be right back with David and Tim Barton

America’s Hidden History

David Barton:

Hi, this is David Barton.

Tim Barton:

And this is Tim Barton and we want to let you know about a series that’s happening right now on TBN on Thursday night. TBN is a Trinity Broadcasting Network and every Thursday night, there is a series that we filmed called America’s hidden history and this season is called America’s Hidden Heroes. The reason is, we highlight heroes for American history. For years, we’ve been focusing on the forgotten history heroes of the nation. And now we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.

David Barton:

These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location, we go to the site, we show you where the events happened and it’s a story of folks like Bronco Charlie and Stagecoach Mary and Jedidiah Smith and Robert Smalls and so many inspiring folks.

Tim Barton:

Now this happens every Thursday night and the time is going to be different based on where you live. Either way we think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you and learning some of these great stories for America’s hidden history.

This Is A Really Precarious Kind Of A Situation

Rick Green:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on Wall Builders Live. Special thanks to Jordan Sekulow for joining us today as well ACLJ.org is the web site. You can learn more about their efforts, not only on this particular case but on all that good work that they do. Back with David and Tim, guys, man, I mean, you got military members in your family. Very thankful for Jay and Jordan and the whole team at ACLJ for stepping up to defend our men and women in uniform.

David Barton:

Yeah. This is a really precarious kind of a situation. If you can imagine an American leaving the country and going on a Caribbean cruise and then being thrown at a third world jail because of some arrest war issued by some court that doesn’t have jurisdiction over him.

Or going on a Mexican vacation to some resort on the coast of Mexico, I mean, this is crazy stuff. And when you consider how many conflicts we’ve been involved with and the absurd definitions that exist in other nations this is not a good scenario. So having Jay there to argue against this is great.

The Notion Of These Arbitrary Standards

Tim Barton:

But even the notion of these arbitrary standards that you’re going to look at Americans and say that Americans are war criminals for some of these wars we’ve been a part of, when we’re not discussing, right, whether or not you can take some these ISIS fighters and imprison them. It would seem like if we’re going to say, you have the authority and jurisdiction to imprison somebody, let’s pick world terrorists.

That’s not who America is.

We are not world terrorists, we don’t go around arbitrarily killing and bombing and destroying cultures and buildings and nations and people. And yet you have these nations, and Jordan did a really good job, kind of giving some perspective context on this that even though you have the majority of nations it’s not the majority the population. And a lot of these big nations are not in there.

They Dislike American And Israel The Most

And the two nations that they dislike the most are American Israel, so, you really get a picture and the context of what a lot of the battle is about. But man, thank God, there are people like a Jay Sekulow, who has the brilliance, not just the access and opportunity but the brilliance to be able to go over and articulate and have an understanding to go, “€œnow guys you understand with Afghanistan, right?

There was something that was signed beforehand that says if anything happens, this is going to be judged not by some European right or some other nation’s judge and judicial system. This goes back to America, this was agreed upon by both nations.” It really does seem like there was a lot of wisdom in even some of this signing, some of these deals that were reached in the midst of now, we’re talking about Afghanistan.

This Is A Dangerous Position

But this would be an incredibly dangerous position, we do see many places around the world that are kind of moving that direction, just kind of picking their favorite nations, nations they don’t like, they want to oppose.

This is not a system of justice looking at an absolute standard of right and wrong of morality because if it was, again, there’s a lot of nations you could look at and go, “€œwait a second, they’re arbitrarily enslaving people.” And their own nation they disagree with, China, right?

When you look at more than a million Muslims that have been enslaved because they have the wrong religion, not to mention all the Christians that have been oppressed and enslaved over in China. You can go around the world looking at nations that are being incredibly oppressive and are doing very negative things.

America is not the top of that list. If you look at a fair equitable just standard, the problem is, a lot of the world doesn’t look with a just standard. They have picked favorites and American Israel are not part of those favorites but if you look at military, Israel arguably one of the most ethical militaries in the world.

America Has Got To Be Second Or Third On That List

America has got to be second or third on that list, when it comes to the way that we treat combatants when it comes to the way that we engage in warfare, the rules of engagement. We are not at all one of these nations that does bad things with our military.

Now, certainly there are some people that are in the military that have done bad things unquestionably but that’s not the rules of engagement. That’s why the people that run in the American military that did that, got in trouble for violating those rules of engagement and most the time they get a dishonorable discharge.

And oftentimes, they end up in jail because we want to have a standard of right and wrong. And this is again not an arbitrary thing but, once again I’ll point out this is why guys, I’m grateful for guys like Jordan Sekulow, we just talked to, Jay Sekulow, his dad and what they’re doing.

And Rick you mentioned it, this is something that ACLJ is another one of those really great law organizations that are fighting for the liberties of Americans. That’s a great place to donate. If we’re looking for an organization support, ACLJ is certainly a good organization to support.

Check Out Our Other Programs On WallBuilders.com

Rick Green:

ACLJ.org to find out more. Special thanks to Jordan Sekulow for joining us today. We sure appreciate you joining us today. And we invite you to visit our web site today at wallbuilderslive.com. It’s a great place to catch up if you missed a few programs of the last few weeks.

You can go to wallbuilderslive.com and we’ve got the archives there for several months prior to today. And that way, you know, if you miss some good news Fridays, you need a little pick me up, you need to know some good news that’s happening now, there you want to dive further into the foundational principles of the country on those foundations of freedom Thursdays.

Or maybe you missed some of the good interviews. We’ve also got quite a few of our pro-family legislators”€™ conference presentation. That’s the time when we have legislators come in from across the nation and a lot of great speakers and we try to share as much of that with you, our listeners here on WallBuilders Live as possible. So many of those are available on the web site today.

Make A Donation To WallBuilders Live

And then lastly, we’d like to encourage you to of course consider that contribute button, that’s your chance to come alongside us here at WallBuilders Live. Your donations really do help us to spread the good news around the nation and of course, we’ve got two days left here in the year.

So this is the perfect time to make that last-minute end of the year contribution and still get to write it off in 2019, a tax-deductible contribution to wall builders can be done right there at our website wallbuilderslive.com. Click on contribute, we certainly appreciate you coming alongside us. Thanks for listening today, The Wall Builders Live.