July1 marks the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the International Criminal Court. I have an op-ed in the print edition of Friday’s Washington Post arguing that Congress should review the restrictions in the American Servicemembers Protection Act, which it passed in July 2002, that limit the ability of the executive branch to support the Court even in cases where there is bipartisan support. The on-line version is here. Here is an excerpt:
The court has proved less threatening to U.S. personnel and interests than many Americans first feared. The ICC prosecutor has never charged a U.S. official with war crimes and declined to prosecute offenses allegedly committed by U.S. forces in Iraq. In April he appropriately refused to open an investigation into Israel’s intervention in Gaza in 2008-09. Next month’s anniversary is an appropriate time for Congress to review U.S. policy toward the court and whether the restrictions (including the authorization to invade The Hague) in the American Service-Members’ Protection Act do more harm than good. Although the law contains exceptions and waivers (some of which I negotiated), it has hindered the Bush and Obama administrations from providing some forms of assistance to the court, even in cases for which there is strong bipartisan support for holding war criminals such as Bashir and Kony accountable.
For good measure, here is a link to an address I gave at DePaul Law School in April 2008 entitled “The International Criminal Court: Where We’ve Been and Where We are Going,” which discussed the past, present, and future of U.S. policy towards the ICC.