News in Brief UK Politics US Politics

Friday Update: 6th March 2020

Written by Callum Williams

Priti Patel Bullying Allegations

On Saturday, Sir Philip Rutnam, the most senior civil servant at the Home Office, announced his resignation, saying he had been “the target of a vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign.”

Now Sir Phillip is suing the Home Office for constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal is when an employer’s conduct has been a serious breach of contract and, consequentially, the employee is entitled to resign.

Further allegations of bullying by Priti Patel emerged following his resignation, with the BBC reporting that an official from the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) had received a £25,000 settlement following allegations of bullying by Priti Patel when she served as Employment Minister in 2015.

Boris Johnson stated in the Commons that he still supported Patel and confirmed the Cabinet Office would investigate the allegations. However, Johnson, Cummings and Patel will all face tough questions and may be required to testify before an employment tribunal.

International Criminal Court Investigation into Afghanistan

On Thursday, the Appeals Court of the International Criminal Court overturned a lower court ruling, allowing prosecutors to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan by US, Afghan and Taliban forces. The ruling will allow the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate war crime allegations in Afghanistan dating back to 2003 including in CIA Black Sites, where torture of foreign detainees is alleged to have taken place.

The International Criminal Court was established in 2002 by the 1998 Rome Statute. It is a court of final resort and investigates war crimes when individual nations are unable or unwilling to do so. Specifically, it is tasked with investigating and prosecuting four main crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. Currently, 123 states are parties to the Rome Statue including the UK, Canada and Australia, with one notable exception, the USA, who refuses to recognise the Court’s legitimacy.

The Court has been criticised in the past for only investigating and prosecuting smaller African nations, so the decision to allow the investigation of US war crimes is a turning point for the Court. However, in their endless quest to avoid accountability and scrutiny, the Americans have already threatened the Court and its officials.

In 2018, the then National Security Advisor John Bolton threatened to arrest Judges and other officials if they opened an investigation into the USA saying:

We will ban its [The ICC] judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system.

John Bolton – National Security Advisor

Hours after the ruling, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticised the judgement and announced that the US would implement the necessary measures to prevent US citizens from testifying before the Court.

With Trump making threats to the Judges and America refusing to co-operate, the investigation into alleged US war crimes will be a steep uphill struggle for the ICC. However, for the first time in his history, the institution is demonstrating a true dedication to pursuing justice and upholding the rule of law and maybe this time the USA will finally be held accountable for their actions overseas.

Super Tuesday

Following a disappointing start to the Primary season, Joe Biden turned his campaign around with an impressive win on Super Tuesday. A combination of Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropping out to endorse Biden, a string of endorsements from key Democratic politicians and his momentum after winning South Carolina led to Biden winning eight of the fourteen states, making him the new frontrunner.

Despite investing half a billion dollars of his own money, Michael Bloomberg had a terrible night – winning only 58 delegates – causing him to drop out of the race. Elizabeth Warren also had a bad night – culminating in her coming third in her home state of Massachusetts – causing her to suspend her campaign.

Despite early success in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Bernie Sanders had a disappointing night as Biden overtook him in the delegate count. Sanders did manage to win California, the largest state in terms of delegates, but lost in key states such as Texas.

The Democratic Primary is now down to Bernie or Biden. Biden has significant momentum and a reasonable delegate lead and so is the likely nominee. However, Bernie hasn’t given up yet and may close the gap over the next few months. Although, even if he manages to gain a plurality, an overall majority is unlikely and with the super-delegates (the party establishment) likely to back Biden, Bernie’s chance of challenging Trump in November is rapidly diminishing.

Further Reading

Want to know more about the Democratic Primaries? Read more articles here.

Want to know more about the Labour Leadership Election? Read more articles here.

About the author

Callum Williams

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