U.S. Continues to Assess ICC Options

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Monday, April 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
As the opening of the International Criminal Court (ICC) approaches, the Bush Administration is still evaluating its policy vis-a-vis the Court. The ICC will take effect after the 60th ratification, which could happen as early as April 8-19, 2002 during the next Preparatory Commission meeting with entry into force likely sometime in the summer. The U.S. Congress is a wild card. It is unknown whether the right wing will try to take additional legislative initiatives against the ICC. At present the ratification bills for the two international counterterrorism treaties passed in early December forbid extradition by the U.S. to the ICC. The prohibition applies only insofar as those two treaties are invoked. However, at present the U.S. Congress has only a minority of ICC supporters. The U.S. policy towards the ICC is occurring as some of the international community are expressing concerns about the conduct of the U.S. counterterrorism policy, particularly the refusal of the U.S to apply the Geneva Conventions to all the detainees, the number of mass civilian killings in Afghanistan due to the U.S. bombing campaign, and treats by the U.S. to conduct aggressive campaigns against the “axis of evil”countries, particularly Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.