Thursday, January 13, 2011

John Bolton Warns of ICC's Threat to US Sovereignty in Criticism of Customary International Law

In a new commentary by John Bolton, the former State Department official and US Ambassador to the United Nations argues that the Obama administration aims to subvert the US as a champion of the rule of law by imposing norms on it created through abuse of customary international law by the "academic Left." While recognizing that this type of law, which is based on the practice of countries, is at times sensible, Bolton goes on to imply that the International Criminal Court is one result of this perversion of customary international law which he views "as a fertile field for imposing [the academic Left's] own ideological standards internationally and binding countries to 'laws' they never explicitly approved."

In fact, the ICC was established and is governed by the Rome Statute treaty, hardly customary international law. Thus, Bolton's concerns that the "ICC's enormous potential prosecutorial power awaits only the opportunity to expand almost without limit" fail to recognize the limits placed on the ICC Prosecutor by the Rome Statute. These include jurisdiction limits based on persons, territory, time and the gravity of the crimes. In fact, as long as the ICC is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, the Court will not have jurisdiction over the United States and thus almost no ability to investigate US nationals.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

No comments: