Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


There has been tremendous success in the signing and ratification of the ICC Statute. To date, 139 countries have signed and 89 countries, encompassing countries from all regions of the globe, have ratified the statute, which took effect on July 1, 2002 after being ratified by more than 66 countries. While most countries declared their support for the ICC, the U.S. was not in favor of signing the statute and therefore voted against it. There is no doubt that the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States were crimes against humanity as contained in the Rome Statute. Therefore, if the ICC had existed on that date, it would have had jurisdiction to punish those responsible for the terrorist assaults on the United States. Paradoxically, while the United States is leading the rest of the world in the war against terrorism after the wake of September 11, 2001, it is also leading and instigating opposition to frustrate the effective operation of the ICC. This inconsistent position taken by the United States is the thesis of this paper. Part II of the paper summarizes the background and scope of the ICC. In part III, the paper discusses U.S. grounds for opposing the ICC and argues that those grounds offer no valid reason for the United States refusal to join the international community effort to establish a permanent criminal court to ensure that those who commit the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes are held accountable for their actions. Part IV examines specific steps taken by the United States to undermine the court, and evaluates the effect of U.S. opposition to the ICC. Part V concludes inter alia, that U.S. desire for a unipolar superpower regime will adversely affect United States interest in the long run, even if it provides any short term benefits.