International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

I gnoran CC e

I want to go back briefly to a focus on US relations to the ICC. Particularly, as many of you might have noticed (Sharan, for sure), the ICC has been everywhere on Facebook recently….but in a hidden and “wrong” way. If you have any friends particularly gullible to the trends of “chain statuses” they might have posted a disclaimer in the last couple days about their privacy and copyright as it related to Facebook policy. If you aren’t so gullible you probably checked out Snopes to realize that this disclaimer won’t help you one bit. While this type of personal-protection-post is usually nothing to analyze, this latest iteration is interesting—and relevant to the course. In many instances, the end of the second paragraph concludes with the sentence:

“The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-3081-103 and the Rome Statute)” (emphasis added)

So how did this peculiar–and nonsensical–allusion to the Rome Statute end up in such a weird context? Some hoaxster interested in international politics? A misled privacy protector? Simple error?

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. What is interesting, for me, is the fact that almost no one (that isn’t in this class) will realize how absurd the disclaimer then seems. Knowing this fact should clue people in to its phoniness. Nonetheless, the rumor will continue.

It is because of this phenomena that I wonder if this ignorance of the ICC/Rome Statute is particularly a result of US isolation from the court, or simply another case of American international knowledge gap (see all those studies where people can’t point out Iraq or Afghanistan). Can we really expect them to know the name of a STATUTE? One that we are hostile to?

American public opinion seems to be particularly intriguing as it relates to the ICC. A Chicago Council on Global Affairs Report suggests that 70% of Americans are in favor of participating in the court (a percentage much higher than the political representation in DC). Other reports confirm constant public support for the court. Then again the public also seems to think that the court is not very effective in many of its aims.

Most striking, however, is the fact that some polling suggests (although it is old) that 60% of Americans don’t know anything about the ICC (to say nothing of the Rome Statute). Thus even if those who do know support the court, there probably isn’t a critical mass of support to influence any public official.

If nothing else the case of the ICC and the public is enigmatic, and likely interesting in comparison to other nations. If you find public polling/knowledge from ardent supporting nations about the ICC, I would love to see how it compares. I doubt those nations would be as gullible to a cheap Facebook trick.


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