Breaking News: The Obama Administration Will Not Seek to Join the ICC

by Julian Ku

Apparently, the Obama Administration has decided it will not seek ratification of the ICC Rome Statute.  There is still no official policy, as far as I know, but this is the latest from Assistant Secretary of State for War Crimes Stephen Rapp. This is not exactly a surprise, but it shows just how far the U.S. is from the Rome Statute. If President Obama and his sort-of supermajority in Congress do not wish to join the ICC, then it is hard to imagine the U.S. joining during a future Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney administration.  This doesn’t exactly bother me. But this raw political fact suggests that the U.S. failure to join the ICC is rooted in deeper political and structural concerns than partisan politics and ideology.

http://opiniojuris.org/2010/02/06/breaking-news-the-obama-administration-will-not-seek-to-join-the-icc/

4 Responses

  1. During Obama’s election I was a committed supporter of his election and his beliefs. He seemed very committed to multilateral approaches to international problems, but this news, alongside keeping Guantanamo Bay open, and his recent ratcheting up of the tensions with Iran, is very depressing viewing indeed. Unfortunately, for an element of legitimacy, the US participation in the ICC is necessary, and their implied rejection can only damage international law in general.

    There is very little difference, at the moment, between Bush’s policy of the US going it alone on the international stage, and the current policies of the Obama administration. I understand he has problems on the domestic front, with the GOP gaining ground in elections and healthcare being tough to get through Congress, but is this really a price worth paying? I think not.

  2. As I wrote in the post to which Julian linked (and I thank Julian for the link), Obama, during the campaign, never expressed strong support for the ICC.  He expressed his intention to review ICC policy but always framed it in a way that suggested he had no intention of actually pursuing Rome Statute ratification.

    But I wouldn’t say it’s a continuation of Bush-style ICC rejectionism but rather another example of Obama-style have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too-ism.  The U.S. will support the ICC, using it as a tool to serve U.S. interests when possible while never submitting to its jurisdiction.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. […] Via Julian Ku at Opinio Juris comes news that the Obama Administration has no plans to submit the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to the Senate for ratificaiton.  Prof. Ku comments: This is not exactly a surprise, but it shows just how far the U.S. is from the Rome Statute. If President Obama and his sort-of supermajority in Congress do not wish to join the ICC, then it is hard to imagine the U.S. joining during a future Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney administration.  This doesn’t exactly bother me. But this raw political fact suggests that the U.S. failure to join the ICC is rooted in deeper political and structural concerns than partisan politics and ideology. […]

  2. […] last month, as reported by the Jurist (at Pittburgh Law) and discussed at Opiniojuris.org, the White House will not seek ICC membership for the United States.  While many feel that the […]