I argued Tuesday that, while John Bolton’s speech on the International Criminal Court (ICC) was designed to be maximally offensive to the court and its supporters, the actual policy steps he suggested to counter the court were largely hollow. I also suggested that Bolton’s speech might actually bolster the court’s sagging legitimacy.
David Bosco is associate professor at Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies. He is author of Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World and Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics.
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In his first major speech since becoming national security adviser, John Bolton yesterday returned to one of his most enduring themes: the dangers of the International Criminal Court and, more broadly, runaway and unaccountable “global governance.”
John Bolton’s appointment as national security adviser may have the most dramatic implications for U.S. policy toward North Korea and Iran. But there’s another dimension to his elevation that deserves at least some attention. Bolton, who has been a ferocious opponent of the International Criminal Court, will likely be assuming his post just as the ICC opens its first ever investigation of United States conduct.
Editor’s Note: The International Criminal Court (ICC) is about to investigate U.S. actions in Afghanistan and controversial interrogation practices—a decision the United States has long quietly opposed. What to do about the investigation, however, is complex, as open defiance of the ICC may have significant costs. David Bosco of Indiana University proposes a compromise: The United States would affirm its support for the ICC's general goals but stress that it should only include member states, not America or other non-members.
Editor’s Note: The Trump administration is suspicious of multilateralism in general, so it is not surprising that it is skeptical of the United Nations. The administration's decision to withdraw from UNESCO reflects this skepticism, but it has also drawn criticism at home and abroad. However, Indiana University's David Bosco, while opposing the decision, finds a silver lining. Because UNESCO is not terribly effective, allowing Trump and others to vent their anger at UNESCO while preserving other ties to the United Nations will help preserve U.N.
Several news outlets are reporting on conciliatory signals from the Palestinian Authority regarding negotiations with Israel. One key gesture is a temporary deemphasis on pursuing Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC). As Bloomberg reports:
In mid-November, International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that her office would make a decision “in the very near future” on whether to launch a full investigation in Afghanistan. That statement meshed with my own reporting that prosecutor’s office had finally chosen to move ahead.