Softening US Opposition to the ICC

by Peter Spiro

The WaPo story here. As the International Criminal Court shows itself to be a responsible institution (note the report that prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has rejected several hundred petitions to initiate actions against US officials), the policy fear factor inevitably dissipates, and the possible strategic benefits for the US come into clearer focus.

But how long will it take to overcome the political fear factor? The fallout from the Kerry’s support for the ICC in a 2004 presidential debate will continue to haunt the issue. And perhaps I am being paranoid, but more broadly I’m increasingly struck by the absence of any mention of international law as an agenda item or otherwise in recent Democrat foreign policy manifestos (see here, here, here, and here). I predict that the US will sign on to the ICC someday (say, 12-15 years from now) but no time sooner. The same goes for other institutions (like the Children’s Rights Convention) – the sovereigntist premise is in retreat but will persist as a sort of hangover for some time to come.

3 Responses

  1. The deeper roots of the problem here are broached by Jim Chen at Jurisdynamics

    (in following up on an earlier post by J.B. Ruhl)

  2. I find the continued fearmongering by both Democrats and Republicans (though mostly Republicans) about the ICC to be cynical and dishonest in the extreme. Even more disgustingly, elected officials who come from legal backgrounds continue to promote absurd ICC myths; like the Court threatening to drag thousands of American soldiers, en masse, to the Big Scary Hague for…..well, errrr……..unmentionably bad things.

    And, as all Americans know, the Dutch are ruthless with their prisoners!

    Ok, enough snark for today.

  3. How does one reconcile a belief that we will one day join the ICC with the fact we revoked our compulsory jurisdiction for the ICJ in 1984 and never looked back?

    Admittedly, the US still appears at the ICJ, but only in the matter and with issues of its own choosing.

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