John Quinn06760911 30
Nov 2007The US Secretary for Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, issued a statement in May 2002
when it became clear that the ICC was about to be established.
The previousadministration, under President Bill Clinton, had in fact signed on the evening of the31
The US had expressed reservations during the negotiations particularly regarding the powers of the prosecutor and what they saw as a kind of universal jurisdiction. It was believed at the time by US chief negotiator and UNambassador, David Scheffer, that the US could reform the ICC from the inside.
Scheffer continues to campaign in favour of the ICC and has called on the USgovernment to ratify the Rome Statute, rather than pursue what he calls a ‘policy of destructive disengagement’.
The Bush administration, or the US Congress for thatmatter, did not share this view. Secretary Rumsfeld’s May 2002 statement states theclear objectives of the policy at the time. The following gives a list of US grievancesas enunciated by Secretary Rumsfeld:‘The ICC’s entry into force on July 1
means that our men and women inuniform – as well as current and future U.S. officials – could be at risk of prosecution by the ICC. We intend to make clear, in several ways, that theUnited States rejects the jurisdictional claims of the ICC. The Unites Stateswill regard as illegitimate any attempt by the court or state parties to the treatyto assert the ICC’s jurisdiction over US citizens.The U.S. has a number of serious objections to the ICC – among them, thelack of adequate checks and balances on powers of the ICC prosecutors and judges; the dilution of the U.N. Security Council’s authority over internationalcriminal prosecutions; and the lack of an effective mechanism to prevent politicized prosecutions of American service members and officials.’
Secretary Rumsfeld Statement on the ICC Treaty, 6
The Rome Statute came into effect on 1
July 2002 under Rome Statute Art 126(1). This provisionstates that the Statute will enter into force on the first day of the month after 60 countries have ratifiedthe treaty. www.icc-cpi.intis the official website of the ICC.
An Introduction to the International Criminal Court
Ed. (Cambridge, 2004) p.21
Scheffer, ‘Staying the Course with the International Criminal Court’, (2002) 35
Cornell International Law Journal
47. This article outlines the former ambassador’s arguments in favour of US ratification.See also: Scheffer, ‘ICC and a Compromise that could Lessen Fears for Impunity for US’
Financial Times, Europe Edition
June 2004, p.16; Scheffer, ‘Should the United States join the InternationalCriminal Court’, (2002) 9
University of California, Davis Journal of International Law and Policy
Scheffer, ‘How to Turn the Tide Using Rome Statute’s Temporal Jurisdiction’, (2004) 2
Journal of International Criminal Justice
26 at 26.
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