International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

US and International Justice

Is the US’ relationship with international justice good strategy, or unethical hypocrisy?

Should the United States join the International Criminal Court? What are the advantages and disadvantages for the ICC if the US were to join?

Let the debate begin…



6 responses to “US and International Justice

  1. ellesnyder November 10, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    The strategic short term interests of the United States might be best suited by failing to join the ICC. These interests would include maintaining impunity in cases of wrong doing of U.S. officials. The U.S. also benefits in the short term by remaining unattached or restricted to the international justice community. Should the U.S. join the ICC they would be beholden to this international rule of law which would limit our autonomy and, potentially, our arguable hegemony. I believe; however, that the United States cannot avoid international law forever and, in fact, that it is not in our best interest to do so. Not only is it unethical to avoid participation in this important institution but our refusal to join further limits its legitimacy. Kantian ethics regarding lying apply to some degree in this case. Kant’s principles essentially contend that lying is bad because it destroys trust across a community. It is important to tell the truth because then it creates a system within a community where truth is the norm therefore one, in an ideal world, can always expect others to also tell the truth. But if you lie, you break trust within the community and can no longer count on others to be truthful as well. The United States’ failure to join the ICC is hypocritical but it also delegitimizes the institution itself. We cannot expect other countries to abide by the provisions of the ICC – such as complying with arrest warrants when the desired individual comes into a signatories country – if we have not joined the institution.
    Our presence on the Security Council also poses issues of hypocrisy in this area. What right do we have to recommend cases to an institution we fail to be apart of? This appears to be allowing us to charge others with crime while avoiding accountability ourselves. A concern regarding the Security Council is that if all Security Council members do join the ICC, including the U.S., it will likely politicize future ICC case recommendations from the Security Council rendering this provision ineffective. Irregardless, I still believe it is in the interest of the world as well as the United States to join the ICC in order to legitimize this increasingly necessary institution.

  2. srisku November 11, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    I think the United States has a moral obligation to join the International Criminal Court. If the United States were to join, their membership would influence other states to become members of the ICC. If the goal is to work towards international justice, all states should become members of the court. The United States would be a able to provide more resources for arrests and prosecutions if it were a member. The ICC would greatly benefit from this as it has to rely on states to make arrests. However, a down side could be the manipulation of the ICC by the United States since it is a major power. The US could influence what cases the ICC should pursue and/or who is prosecuted for the crimes. If the ICC were to ignore the demands of the US, the United States could decrease their level of cooperation and resources given to the court.

  3. addisonc42 November 14, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    The United States is known in many senses to lead and take the initiative toward changes. However this has very much been to the disadvantage of the United States as other countries look to America to make the first step. Although the US is not a part of the ICC if the US were to join I believe it would have an impact on the prosecution of ICC countries negative and positive. Positively the US could provide great resources such as financial and so on to the court. It also could work with allies and others to help better track down perpetrators and later prosecute. Negatively the US could influence the ICC away from prosecuting the US and its allies. For the US it could be negative in the sense that they would be more open to prosecution and the world may look to the US to lead once more. On the other side the US could have a better say in what countries may be prosecuted and defend allies. The US I believe would not benefit from this, even though I believe there is a moral obligation. If the US were to do so I believe the ICC’s legitimacy would suffer as states may believe that it is the US trying to push western influence on them if the US played a role in prosecuting a country.

  4. laurherv November 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    The US is hypocritical in its verbal support of international justice, as it is unwilling to join the ICC or cooperate with any case related to American citizens. The US was very involved in the framing of the Rome Statute and other issues surrounding international justice, such as other tribunals around the world, yet they still refuse to sign on and fully support the ICC. The US should sign on to the ICC in order to finally act on what has been said for many years. While the US refuses to sign on due to its own paranoia and feeling of the need to protect themselves from prosecution, they fail to recognize the importance of their cooperation. Their refusal expresses their knowledge that they have committed international crimes and the fear of prosecution. However, their refusal to sign delegitimizes the court for other world cases and holds out many valuable resources the ICC could benefit from. Joining the ICC could provide new resources to make arrests and prosecutions against top level offenders, as well as add credibility to the court as support from a major world power would be an important addition to the ICC. However, the signing on of a major world power, especially one on the UN Security Council, could also hurt the ICC due to its ability to interfere with investigations they do not support. The Security Council holds the ability to defer ICC cases or not refer any cases to the court, then again delegitimizing the court. Even still, the US signing on to the ICC would legitimize the court and the US in their true support of international justice. The US poses many possible benefits to the ICC and although they have committed their own crimes, the ICC has more to gain from their cooperation than a prosecution against them.

  5. smkitt November 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    The US’s refusal to become part of the ICC is in part hypocrisy and in part strategy. It is hypocritical for the US to continue to campaign and be force from human rights while also not being held accountable for all of the crime they have committed. The US purposefully abstains from signing and ratifying the Rome Statute as to avoid accountability for past and present war crimes. But it is also strategy because since they are not being tried for their crimes, they can continue to crusade for human rights on their pedestal. The US can’t be touched while they are on their pedestal of impunity, and they will continue to intervene in human rights violation situations. Because they are not being held accountable, it allows the US the space in wants to pursue other human rights issues, while avoiding and ignoring their own violations.

  6. Mckenna WestCoates November 17, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    The United States relationship is a good strategy for them but is also complete hypocrisy at the same time. With the permanent position on the Security Council the United States can steer cases towards the ICC that may help them. While steering some cases to the court the United States can also avoid any prosecution or investigation as they are not a member. This is almost the complete definition of hypocrisy as they are using the court to help themselves without being subjected to the same scrutiny. The ICC faces some issues if the United States were to join. Some may feel this would allow the US even more influence on the cases the court takes and it would no longer be separate from politics. Though the US could help the court with funding this would also strengthen their influence and power over the court. If the United States were to join the court may experience pressure to prosecute the US on potential crimes but with the complementary principle this is unlikely to happen. Along with if the ICC were to go after the US this could cause major backlash from the major powers.

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