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Copyright (c) 2003 The Regents of the University of Wisconsin
Wisconsin International Law Journal

ARTICLE: JUDGING GLOBAL JUSTICE: ASSESSING THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Fall, 2003

21 Wis. Int'l L.J. 495

Author

Diane F. Orentlicher*

Excerpt



When Trinidad and Tobago suggested in 1989 that the United Nations establish a permanent international criminal court, 1 its proposal seemed nothing if not quixotic. After all, proposals to create such a court had disappeared into diplomatic oblivion for roughly half a century. And so the entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 2 ("Rome Statute") just four years after its adoption surprised even the court's most ardent proponents. After a protracted period of gestation, the international criminal court (ICC) seemed, proverbially, to be an idea whose time had come.

Yet the court has been steeped in controversy since its statute was adopted over the strenuous objection of the United States in July 1998. 3 Although largely isolated in its particular brand of opposition to the ICC, the United States has been a formidable (if lonely) adversary. 4 It has waged pitched battles against the court on numerous fronts, threatening, for example, to: veto United Nations Security Council resolutions extending the mandate of peacekeeping operations unless U.S. forces are assured immunity from ICC jurisdiction, 5 deny bilateral military assistance to states that have ratified the Rome Statute, and invade ICC detention facilities in the event an American national is ever detained there. 6

In my view, the United States has raised a number of serious and legitimate concerns. But as I will elaborate later, the U.S. government has undermined its position by advancing its concerns through strategies that are counter-productive at ...
 
 
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