The United States must attend International Criminal Court (ICC) preparations in The Hague next month for a Review Conference in 2010 which will make vital decisions on the ICC's future. There is a real danger that the U.S. will not go to the preparations. If not, the U.S. is likely to be frustrated and alienated by its experience at the conference. Before time runs out, tell President Obama and key cabinet leaders that the U.S. needs to go to the preparations.
Since 2003, the ICC has been investigating atrocities and holding individuals to account for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Unlike the Bush administration, the Obama administration has spoken favorably about the ICC and is open to cooperating with it. However, the administration is self-defeatingly refusing to participate in ICC meetings until it completes its full policy review on the ICC.
The ICC will hold a review conference in May and June 2010 to evaluate its performance and to shape its future. Many of the preparations for it will be finalized at the next regular session of the Court's governing body, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), November 18-26 in The Hague. Given the slow pace of the policy review, it will be fortunate if the policy timely authorizes the U.S. to go to the Review Conference. If it does, it will find that the agenda and many of its decisions were predetermined in the preparatory meetings. These decisions may make it harder for the U.S. to achieve its eventual policy goals and a closer relationship with the ICC.