ICC: Universal Ratification
February 2, 2014
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While discussing the current state of the ICC and the history of its ratification, Professor Tiemessen mentioned the coalition of civic society groups who continue to work to establish and improve the operations of the ICC. One of the primary goals remains to increase the number of countries who ratify the ICC.
I was curious what groups participated in this large conglomeration of NGOs and the movement towards universal ratification. Looking through the Coalition of the International Criminal Court’s website, the core goals within the “Universal Court with Global Support” campaign are (1) Ratification and Implementation, (2) Cooperation Agreements and Enforcement, and (3) Recruitment of ICC Staff. The structure of these goals operate much like other NGO missions, however, I think it might be interesting to question the goal of universal ratification overall. Is universal ratification a necessary, proper, and/or important ICC goal? Is striving for this goal a constant or is there an optimal minimum? Finally, does the distribution of ratifiers matter (e.g. African, developed countries, etc.) and should even distribution across socio-economic and/or geographic lines be a more “important” goal than a singular drive towards universal ratification? (I don’t really have answers to any of these questions, but I think they are interesting to pose.)
To start the conversation, I want to present this quote from an article I read: Two months ago, the UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged all Member States to ratify the Rome Statute saying that, ““I am convinced that the solution of broadening the reach of the Court is not disengagement, but universality.” He continued, “Only once the Rome Statute has been universally accepted can the Court be as effective as we would wish it to be, with a truly global reach.”
Ban Ki-moon certainly thinks that universal ratification is the most necessary step to guarantee the ICC’s success. Universal ratification would increase the ICC’s legitimacy, jurisdiction, funding, prosecuting strength, and access to skilled staff. There are few apparent negatives surrounding the goal of universal ratification. The most obvious negative is the threat universal ratification might have on the legitimacy (regarding the reputation of “powerful” ratifiers and increased politicization of the ICC). In any case, I wanted to pose the question and see what types of ideas arise out of an analysis of the importance/necessity of universal ratification.