Peace in the ICC Wars? Let’s Just Call It a Truce
Apparently, the U.S. conservative policymaking world has made its peace with the ICC. As long as the ICC doesn’t bother the US, the US won’t bother the ICC. But the US has no plans to join either. That is the bottom line from this report from Colum Lynch.
Have U.S. conservatives really lost the war on the International Criminal Court?
A decade ago, President George W. Bush‘s U.N. envoy, John Negroponte, threatened to shut down U.N. peacekeeping missions from Bosnia to Guatemala if the U.N. Security Council failed to immunize American peacekeepers from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Bush administration threatened to cut aid to America’s military allies if they failed to sign pacts — known as Article 98 Agreements — vowing never to surrender a U.S. citizen to the Hague-based court. John Bolton, the Republicans’ fiercest foe of the court, declared the day he reversed the Clinton administration’s decision to sign the treaty establishing the court his happiest. “I felt like a kid on Christmas day,” he wrote in his memoir. The very future of the international tribunal appeared to be at risk.
Today, the Security Council routinely passes resolutions expanding the scope of the international court and few pay it any notice. Last year, the Security Council cited the ICC in resolutions nine times, including in a December resolution — 2085 — that requires peacekeepers in Mali to support “national and international efforts, including those of the International Criminal Court, to bring to justice perpetrators of serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.”
The article goes on to quote our own Ken Anderson and Brett Schaefer at Heritage to say that, basically, the American right doesn’t really care about the ICC much anymore. I think that is more or less correct. I would add that the utter lack of enthusiasm in the Obama Administration for joining the ICC has made the right feel much better as well. Even the most influential US NGOs have toned down their ICC campaigns.
I will also say that (as Ken notes in the article), Israel is a red line for the American right and the ICC will be back in the penalty box if the ICC opens an investigation into Palestine. And that is not exactly out of the realm of possibility.