The International Criminal Court: How the United States Can Ratify the Rome Statute and Rejoin the International Community

Mr. Michael Hatchell
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In 1998, the international community came together in Rome to begin to form the International Criminal Court (ICC). With the United States in a leadership role at the negotiations, the Rome Statute came to life. The ICC crimes were to be the most heinous acts of humanity: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and aggression. However, the crime of aggression did not make into the Rome Statute. With the U.S. so immersed in the process and the Clinton Administration's signature on the actual document, why has the U.S. not ratified the Rome Statute and continues to keep to its "going it alone" strategy?

In this paper I propose to explore what it would take for the U.S. to ratify the Rome Statute and rejoin the international community. Several road blocks, both internationally and domestically, would have to be negotiated. I propose to focus on the domestic necessities that would have to be addressed for the Rome Statute to be ratified by the Senate. Specifically, Title 18 of the United States Code would have to be modified through the legislative process to incorporate the Rome Statute's requisite crimes and jurisdiction.

The U.S. has voiced its concern in joining the ICC by saying that it will not voluntarily surrender its sovereignty to an international body, that it does not want rogue, politically-motivated states to use the ICC for propagandizing anti-American sentiments, and it does not want American persons brought before the ICC for their actions overseas if related to military and foreign policy activities. These arguments will be explored in the context of needed domestic legislation to protect American interests and regain its place in the international community.

Keywords: International Criminal Court, Rome Statute, United States, International Law, International Community, Treaty Obligations, National Interests, Politics
Stream: Political Science, Politics
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: The International Criminal Court, Mr.

Mr. Michael Hatchell

Student, LL.M. Candidate in International and Comparative Law, George Washington University School of Law, Washington, D.C.

Currently Mr Hatchell is at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. and finishing his LL.M. thesis on the International Criminal Court under the direction of Professor David Scheffer, the ex-Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes under the Clinton administration and lead U.S. negotiator at the Rome Conference. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Mr Hatchell is married and currently resides in Connecticut, USA.

Ref: H05P0221