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International Criminal Court

  1. Jul 31, 2008 #1
    What is the position of the US with respect to the International Criminal Court ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2008 #2
  4. Jul 31, 2008 #3
    So you don't have any opinion, or you don't want to share it ?
    It would help the court itself if the US would recognize its authority.
  5. Jul 31, 2008 #4
    Let me add that I know it has been discussed already a lot. However, I was wondering, for instance, if the seemingly apathy with regards to [thread=246146]Radovan Karadžić[/thread] here on PF actually hides something else...
  6. Jul 31, 2008 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    There's nothing as sinister as you suggest. The trial hasn't begun. He's been caught; that's a fact, and facts don't lend themselves well to long discussions. If I posted a message saying "chlorine is green", I wouldn't expect much discussion either - even though chlorine really is green.

    As far as the topic at hand, the ICC has a problem in that it conflicts with two principles that most Americans consider important: a right to a jury trial, and no double jeopardy. As a practical matter, I don't know how you could implement a jury trial for the ICC, but nonetheless, Americans consider this important. The US prohibition on double jeopardy is, in my view, more serious - by treaty, the ICC can assert jurisdiction only if someone is not found guilty in US courts.

    The other problem the ICC has is that the Belgians managed to sabotage it. They asserted universal jurisdiction, and then proceeded to file a bunch of politically motivated charges. Political motivation is not just my opinion - the Belgian Supreme Court and the Belgian Prime Minister came to the same conclusion (and it was admitted later by the people who filed). I know this is not the same thing as the ICC, but from the US perspective, you have two courts a few miles apart, both claiming universal jurisdiction, and both saying, "no, there won't be any politically motivated prosecutions" - at the same time one of them is charging their political enemies as fast as they can.

    Finally, it is possible to agree with the goals of the ICC while at the same time believing that the implementation is terrible and the institution as a whole is not worth supporting.
  7. Jul 31, 2008 #6
    It has.
    Both Karadzic and the judge have, strangely enough, displayed humor traits

    Thank you for answer, I appreciate. I completely agree that one can not be very happy about the present implementation. I conclude from that, that countries should discuss on how to improve it, beginning by recognizing how important it is. But I also realize that it is against some dear principles to US citizens. At some point, politicians should set priorities, and indeed they have...

    I also realize that most US citizen do not necessarily relate very much with the events in an obscure somewhere in Europe. I have personally met and became friend with more than one refugee, so I feel quite concerned about it.
  8. Jul 31, 2008 #7


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    You didn't ask for opinions, you asked for a fact and it was given to you. If you have a point to make (it seems you do....), it is up to you to make it. This isn't a place for fishing. It sets a bad tone for the thread.
  9. Jul 31, 2008 #8
    This is not about one single point actually. Look up [thread=247916]Torture is legal because my lawyer said it is legal[/thread]. This is another aspect I clearly has in mind when opening this thread. I'm sorry if my tone seemed bad, it was unfortunate and unintentional on my part.

    I think the fact that this other thread has been opened just right now reveals that this question is obviously important and multifaceted.
  10. Jul 31, 2008 #9
    In light of the fact that the Committee of the International Red cross would like to see Bush prosecuted for war crimes, I doubt anyone in this country, including democrats, would want to see a strong International Criminal Court.

    To be put on trial on the world stage would be an unprecedented delima for the USA.
    The world hates us enough already.
  11. Jul 31, 2008 #10
    But don't you think on the contrary that the world would reconsider their position if there was a popular democratic move in the US to enforce application of international laws and logical consequences of the facts ?

    Please note that I know I'm dreaming :smile:

    The more I think about it... Would it be the best way for the US to reach back its legitimate leader position ?
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  12. Jul 31, 2008 #11


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    GW Bush is like a 'problem cousin' within a family. We know he's bad; believe me, we really know. If he was your cousin, would you want the village you live in to deal with him? Or would you want to deal with him within your family?
  13. Aug 1, 2008 #12
    That was not the question you asked in the OP. My opinion is that the President is against it because of the implications for American soldiers abroad and therefore helping the court is not high on his agenda.
  14. Aug 1, 2008 #13


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    Just to clarify a few points. The international criminal court sits in the Hague, in the Netherlands not in Belgium and it's charter clearly spells out it's precise bounds of jurisdiction which are by no means universal in terms of geography (less than 50% of the world's population falls under it's remit) nor universal in terms of the types of crime committed over which it can preside. There is a further safeguard (Article 16) for those worried about malicious prosecutions whereby the UN security council can permanently defer any case indefinitely preventing the court from initiating an investigation.
  15. Aug 1, 2008 #14


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    The double-jeopardy part is a little misleading. There is a possibility of a defendant facing double-jeopardy, but the way you express it implies something different than what the ICC actually does.

    The ICC tries cases that a country won't or can't investigate or prosecute - in other words, cases where no trial would take place. They also extend their jurisdiction to cover investigations, prosecutions, or trials that are considered a sham. In other words, someone like Saddam Hussein couldn't conduct his own trial of himself having instructed the justice that anything other than a not guilty result would result in the justice and his entire extended family being killed.

    Regardless of the intent, there is some small possibility of a politically motivated retrial of a legitimately conducted trial just because one country doesn't like the other. There's also the possibility of politically motivated investigations/prosecutions in cases where there was never any grounds for a country to conduct its own in the first place. The safeguards against this happening aren't considered sufficient.

    The jury trial requirements are the bigger technical issue since there's no way to really get around this requirement other than a Constitutional amendment.

    Keep in mind, the US was a supporter of the intent of the ICC even if there were issues that needed addressed before the US could ratify the treaty. The US was a signor of the Rome Statute from 2000 up until May 2002, when the US "unsigned" the treaty.

    Both candidates seem to fall closer to generally support, but have issues that need addressed. I don't see exactly how those issues could be addressed any time soon, but I'd expect more positive support for the general idea come January.
  16. Aug 1, 2008 #15


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    Could I get a citation for that claim please?
  17. Aug 1, 2008 #16
    OOPS. sorry about that Russ.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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