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The ICC at Eight: Assessing US policy and international criminal law: reciprocal influences

Patrícia Pinto Soares (European University Institute) has just published her study on ‘The ICC at Eight: Assessing US policy and international criminal law: reciprocal influences’. Her study is the result of the study undertaken during the Calouste Gulbenkian Fellowship carried out at the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR), SAIS Johns Hopkins University, in Washington, D. C.. This is a part of the preface:

This study emerged from the consideration of different factors. First, the United States has arguably been the strongest opponent of the International Criminal Court (ICC or Court). Yet, the US position has shifted throughout the years. While President Bush’s Administration was rather inflexible, President Obama’s unveils a clear policy move in favor of the Court even though it is presently reviewing its official policy on the matter. Second, opposition to the Court has been explained on both legal and political grounds. In view of its brief existence and limited resources, the Court has undertaken a significant number of cases and the Prosecutor has analyzed and decided on several situations, being thus possible to assess the critiques directed to the Court against its performance. Third, eight years after the ICC became operational, States Party to the Statute of Rome met in Kampala to review its performance, consider amendments to the Statute, and seek effective solutions to enforce the Court’s mandate of ensuring that those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern are submitted to the scrutiny of law. Fourth, the EU and the US have been divided concerning the role of international law and institutions, with the ICC being an illustrative example of severe transatlantic disagreement. Fifth, the project of the permanent International Criminal Court is intrinsically connected to ‘elementary considerations of humanity’. Understanding whether the latter affects the development and success of national and foreign policy, and if so, to what extent, has underlined practical and legal consequences. The combination of these factors makes this time ripe for rethinking the US stance on the Court. Conversely, it is crucial to analyze to what extent US policy has influenced international criminal law (ICL), for this area of law is characterized by the capacity of changing and adapting to new circumstances extremely rapidly. Its dynamics is unique and the case may be that decisions adopted by individual States in view of their political agenda produce unforeseen results that come to condition those States in a manner by them unwarranted.


  1. Joe Joe 27 September 2010

    I guess Americans just don’t like to play well with other countries. Odd that they would be so opposed to the ICC.

  2. Leila Boer Leila Boer 13 March 2011

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