ICC and America
Over the past few years, the International Criminal Court (ICC or “the Court”) has been igniting controversy the world over. As more countries rallied behind it, more objections have been made, particularly from Americans, regarding what many view as fundamental flaws. I have chosen two papers to compare and contrast the different viewpoints taken by the authors when reflecting upon America’s involvement with the ICC. One calls for total rejection of the ICC, the other weighs the risks and benefits and calls for revision but acceptance.
The first article, entitled “National Constitutional Compatibility and the International Criminal Court”, is written by Helen Duffy and published in the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law. The second article, entitled “Reasonable Doubt: The Case against the Proposed International Criminal Court”, is written by Gary T. Dempsey and published online at the Cato Institute website. Duffy’s article was published late in 2001, a contrast to Dempsey’s article which was published in 1998, just one day prior to the International Rome conference on July 17th that resulted in the establishment of the ICC. Many of the incongruencies in the ICC treaty that troubled Americans three years ago have yet to be brought into balance with American values. These two papers give similar, although at times slightly different, viewpoints on the issue.
Dempsey criticizes the ICC before it has even been birthed into existence. “Specifically, the court threatens to diminish America’s sovereignty, produce arbitrary and highly politicized ‘justice,’ and grow into a jurisdictional leviathan.” He expresses his lack of faith in the Court’s ability to complement national governments and their respective judicial systems while refraining from infringing upon their sovereignty. He is explicitly clear in his position, stating in his paper that, “For those and other reasons, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives should have sufficient grounds to…refuse to ratify and to fund the International Criminal Court.”
Duffy brings the issue up, adding pertinent information concerning other government’s constitutions and how some other nations have gone so far as to amend their own constitution to accommodate their acceptance of the ICC’s regulations. “A small number ...
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...ntradiction of terms. If the Court finds it unsatisfactory, doesn’t that imply that the Court already believes the authorities are not doing justice? How much “convincing” would they need? Duffy again points out the need for revision in the treaty.
Both papers share a similar overview from remarkably different viewpoints. Many of the somewhat extremist views that Dempsey takes are tempered through Duffy’s call for consideration and revision. As the ICC moves forward with the trial of Slobodan Milosevic and others to come, it is important to cooperate harmoniously with the rest of the world’s nations, seeking justice and guidance. At the same time, we must not lose sight of those rights and responsibilities that make us one of the greatest nations on earth.
“National Constitutional Compatibility and the International Criminal Court.” Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law. Helen Duffy. 2001. http://www.law.duke.edu/shell/cite.pl?11+Duke+J.+Comp.+&+Int'l+L.+5
“Reasonable Doubt: The Case against the Proposed International Criminal Court.” Gary T. Dempsey. 16 July. 1998. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-311.html
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