Law is the intelligence of the many, in the fullness of time, it is best for the individual never to forget it.

Although there were predecessors in Egypt (3000 BCE), Babylon and the Torah, extensive secular law is an invention of the Greco-Romans. It was so strong an advantage in social organization that it survived the Dark Ages, when Christianity nearly destroyed civilization. Even that fanatical Christian, emperor Justinian, ordered to separate secular Roman law from Christianism, thus recognizing its superiority. (A lesson that totally escaped Islam until recent times.)

Frankish law dismantled a great part of the evil of Greco-Roman Antiquity, by outlawing slavery (660 CE).

Ever since Franco-English barons imposed the Magna Carta on their Anglois king, England has been at the forefront of ever more advanced refinements of secular law.

Overall, Roman and Frankish law succeeded to hold back crazed maniacs such as Saint Louis and Luther, who wanted to destroy the Jews. They did not do it, although they wanted it so bad, they wrote about it in exalted tones. Why? Because the law forbade it, and even kings had to obey the law (as a Roman empress, an Augusta, decided in the fifth century, inventing the concept of a State of law). 

So what’s the problem of the USA with the International Criminal Court? Cowardice? France and Rwanda have been exchanging war crime accusations, and Germany obliged by arresting a top Rwandan colonel on behalf of France three weeks ago. France has major military operations in half a dozen countries and is not afraid of being dragged in front of the International Criminal Court any time soon.

Why? Because the name for France in Chinese means “country of law”. Therein the bottom of the strength for France, and the bottom of the problem for English America. Technically, when slavery was established in English America, it violated Frankish (and therefore English) law. English America started as a rogue State, violating both the equality before justice at the root of the State of law, and the Frankish antislavery law. (Hopefully Obama, a Constitutional law professor, will appreciate the historical depth of the argument!)

English America has thrived by taking important short cuts on the law. But now this is all over. Transparency and the global village are here to stay. The West has interest to play according to the rules of law. It invented them, it is best at them.

Joining international justice is not just a question of ethics, it’s a question of the basic interest of the USA. It ought not to take many years to act on this.

Patrice Ayme

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