The United States and the ICC: A Slight Warming?

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Stephen Rapp just concluded his statement to the plenary session of the Review Conference.  His comments included some broadly positive references to the ICC, but equally some concerns and warnings.  On the positive side, Rapp noted the important role the Court can play in bringing international criminals to justice and contributing to the decisive end of heinous acts of violence.  The United States, Rapp noted, supports current efforts to arrest Joseph Kony and other indicted members of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  However, Rapp’s statement was also at pains to emphasize the challenges facing the ICC.  While avoiding reference to specific U.S. objections to the Court, Ambassador Rapp did highlight the unsettled status of the crime of aggression, and the current lack of agreement on key elements of its definition and proposed operation (the so-called “jurisdictional filter”).  The conclusion in this respect was stark:  moving forward on aggression without consensus could undermine the ICC as an effective–or perhaps potentially effective–international legal institution.

The question, it seems, is whether this interesting but relatively innocuous statement represents anything new.

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June 1, 2010   No Comments