Wednesday, September 19, 2018
In recent days, national security advisor John Bolton has renewed his attacks on the International Criminal Court, an international treaty-based body that the U.S. has never joined. The US was instrumental in the development of the ICC and many acknowledge that its existence and practices reflect the high value that the U.S has traditionally placed on the rule of law and mechanisms of justice. While not a member, the US has at times cooperated with the ICC's investigative efforts.
For law profs who are looking for authoritative resources on the ICC, there are some excellent sources. The American Bar Association has an ICC project that chronicles US involvement in the development of the ICC and information about the body's history. The website International Justice Today, a collaborative effort between the ABA and Stanford University, provides up-to-date news, event announcements, public opinion polls, and other materials relating to the ICC.
Negative reactions to Bolton's attacks have come from all sides of the political spectrum. In a piece in The Hill, President Bush's ambassador at large for war crimes, Clint Williamson, explains why Bolton's position is against U.S. interests in the long run. Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU issued a statement warning of the implications of Bolton's threats to prosecute ICC judges, and putting the Bolton position into the larger context of the Trump Administration's attacks on human rights. Dakwar also posted a blog on this issue. In a revealing survey, Just Security reports that those governments that have endorsed Bolton's position are often themselves engaged in mass atrocities, while our traditional European allies have spoken out in support of the ICC.