The International Criminal Court is almost entirely dependent on state cooperation to effectuate its mandate to bring to justice individuals responsible for committing “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.” State cooperation is also central to the evolving relationship between the ICC and the United States.
President Barack Obama entered office with a pledge to temper the prior administration’s hostility toward the ICC. Since then, he has been conducting a high-level review of U.S. policy toward the ICC. Although no official position has been announced, subsequent public statements by:
- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (and here) (above left),
- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice (and here) (below right),
- Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen J. Rapp (and here & here), and
- Legal Advisor Harold Hongju Koh (and here)
The United States, along with other states, has rendered a range of formal and informal assistance to the ad hoc tribunals. Over the years, the United States has:
- supplied technical assistance
- seconded personnel,
- utilized diplomatic and economic sanctions,
- frozen assets,
- shared evidence,
- offered rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of indictees, and
- authorized and participated in multilateral military efforts to track and apprehend suspects.
Even as a non-state party, the United States is poised to continue to play this role vis-à-vis the ICC in light of the détente between the United States and the Court. As will be discussed in tomorrow's post, however, aspects of domestic law render a whole range of forms of assistance potentially unlawful.