l courtThe Effects of the Purposed International Criminal Court
The United States of America guarantees its citizens protection against punishment from foreign nations. As Americans, we are lucky in that the Constitution of this great state has a number of measures provided for its citizen’s safety. Being one of the most sovereign nations, meaning we are politically independent from any other nation in the world, our government goes through drastic measures when the rights of one of its citizens is being threatened by a foreign power. On that same note different end of the spectrum the U.S. sees it necessary to “police” the rest of the world, most of the time with out regard to foreign citizen’s rights. Which is why former President Bill Clinton’s signing of the purposed International Criminal Court treaty came as a surprise to the rest of the U.S. congress.
On July seventeenth 1998 in Rome, 160 nations decided to establish a permanent Inter-national Criminal Court to try individuals for the most serious offences of global concern, such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Many feel the agreement is no less important than the adoption of the United Nations Charter itself and it was hailed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as “a giant step forward in the march towards universal human rights and the rule of law.” The ICC would be empowered to investigate, try, and punish certain crimes, such as war crimes and the previously mentioned crimes against humanity. Currently, states, which are political actors that retain a defined territory, population and international sovereignty, have primary responsibility for prosecuting these crimes. In exceptional cases, they have been addressed through ad hoc tribunals set up by the United Nations (UN) Security Council. Ad hoc tribunals are set up for specific crimes and given prescribed authority, which prevents them from expanding their original mandate. The ICC, by contrast, would have greater authority and powers to investigate and prosecute suspected crimes. This unprecedented power could profoundly affect the rights guaranteed every American by the U.S. Constitution and threaten the ability of the United States to engage in military action to protect its national security interests.
The key actors in the purposed International Criminal Court would consist of a large coalition of NGOs that have been involved since 1995 in the process of establishing the Court. They developed close working relations with delegations, organized briefings for the Conference participants and published pamphlets, reports and papers on various topics of special interest. They provided a substantive contribution to the work of the Conference and a momentum to its successful negotiations. It is expected that many will be active in the campaign to get the Statute ratified by as many States as possible.
The ICC can be best evaluated on a system-level of analysis, which is an analytical approach that emphasizes the impact of world conditions on the actions of states and other international actors. The actors which are in support of the International Criminal Court are also could also be greatly affected by its reign and power. Many states, including the U.S. would be in jeopardy of losing some of their sovereignty, which is the political independence from any higher authority, because it would be in conflict with many states military policies for protecting its own citizens.The countries that are in favor of the ICC would not be able to protect their citizen’s rights under the ICC law. Which makes adopting the ICC very controversial to many nations, especially the United States.
The ICC would complement the Inter-national Court of Justice in The Hague, which hears disputes between governments. It would have a definitely large impact on current international Relations, since in the past 100 years there have been more crimes against humanity that have claimed more lives than every war ever fought on foreign soil. The ICC would try international terrorist such as the recently captured Milsovic, who is only being tried in his home country, at the international level if it were adopted.
Many of the focused points of the ICC are very controversial in America because there would be a power that the United States could not control, threatening the rights of U.S. citizens. This is daunting to the concept of American sovereignty. The United States also faces unique problems with the very nature of an ICC. It is questionable, for example, whether the U.S. Constitution allows the U.S. government to permit U.S. citizens to be tried for alleged crimes committed on U.S. soil by a body that is not a court of the United States. For example, if the United States agreed to grant jurisdiction over international drug trafficking to the ICC, this court legitimately could demand extradition of an accused U.S. citizen who never set foot outside the United States. Another problem is that the ICC most likely would not provide many of the basic legal rights of Americans, such as a trial by jury, forbidding trials in absentia, and the right of the accused to confront his accuser.
Not only is the ICC threatening the US’s citizen’s rights but it would also jeopardize our military juridistion. A military commander is criminally responsible for crimes committed by forces under his/her command and control. Criminal responsibility also arises if the military commander knew or should have known that the forces were committing or were about to commit such crimes, but nevertheless failed to prevent or repress their commission. The United States would no longer have the authority to send military force to states that are in need of force without the prior consent of the United Nations. United State military laws would essentially be powerless.
Many United States Republican officials oppose the idea of the ICC because of the realist, view that they interpret our government through. They do not believe that the goals of the ICC are attainable, and suspect that national states will follow the dictates of their national interest and ignore the laws and act in a self serving way, especially when it comes to protecting it’s citizens security. On the opposite side of the wing many democratic idealist see the International Criminal Court a way to promote a larger more real sense of world peace. I tend to agree more along the lines with the realist on the position, which is also an individual system analysis view on the ICC. I believe in parts of the purposed ICC but it threatens my safety as well as the sovereignty of the state in which I am a citizen.
The only sense of thought I feel I can offer the situation is The United state has one of the longest forms of stable government in the world, and at this point is the leading force in international power. The U.S. seems to be controlling or policing most of the world, as well as helping to fund and rebuild many nations that have been worn torn and in shambles. To jeopardize our sovereignty and position ourselves to be tried by a jury that threatens to be a higher power than our court systems frightens me to the extend as I would almost not want to see the ICC develop at all. After reading through the ICC treaty I found many ideas that still should be revised and rethought. The adoption of an ICC might occur in military officials with high rankings to be framed for crimes and imprisoned by an international system that might not be legitimate.
The proposed International Criminal Court poses serious threats to U.S. sovereignty and security. Congress and the Administration should declare unequivocally that the United States would not participate in an ICC that does not guarantee, at a minimum, the rights and privileges contained in the U.S. Constitution and the American judicial system–including trial by jury. Nor will the United States participate in any international body that hinders the ability of the United States to protect its national security.