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President Bush was right on the International Criminal Court:

President Bush's decision to withdraw the United States signature to the Rome treaty creating the International Criminal Court (a signature which President Clinton had affixed in the final days of his administration) was cheered by the Heritage Foundation, and vigorously denounced by Transnationalists, including Harold Koh, now the nominee for Legal Advisor to the U.S. Department of State. In the current issue of World Affairs, Julie Flint and Alex de Waal detail the disastrous, inept, self-serving, and thoroughly harmful tenore of the ICC's one and only head of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), Luis Moreno Ocampo. That Ocampo remains in office after six years is a very important data point that the ICC suffers from severe structural defects. Theoretically, there are good pro/con arguments regarding an ICC. In practice, President Bush's judgment that the ICC as it was actually created was a dangerously bad institution and incapable of self-reform appears to have been correct.

Soronel Haetir (mail):
Well that was an interesting article.

If it shows a relatively true account it seems like yet another international figure in love with himself at the expense of his assignment.
4.25.2009 7:14pm
Donny:
Your thesis is only true if you mischaracterize and overgeneralize Bush's position. In fact, Bush did not base his decision on the fact that the ICC was a "dangerously bad institution and incapable of self-reform." Instead, he had very specific criticism, as the Heritage article you cite indicates. His opposition was based on the lack of "prudent safeĀ­guards against political manipulation," the "sweeping authority without accountability to the Security Council," and the violation of "national sovereignty by claiming jurisdiction over the nationals and military personnel of non-party states." Bush, and the right-wing generally, put special emphasis on that last point.

At best, the Flint &de Waal article echoes the first of those criticisms--political manipulation. But the other criticisms are about the ICC doing the opposite of what Bush feared: being too timid and not using their full authority.

If anything, Bush would probably be more in favor of the ICC's actual practice than the theoretical conception of it. The US, for better or worse, likes its international institutions to be as toothless as possible.
4.25.2009 7:18pm
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
John Jay was a weak, ineffectual Chief Justice. Abolish the Supreme Court.
4.25.2009 7:29pm
zywotkowitz (mail):
What reason is there for possibly thinking that the ICC could have a better understanding of "justice" than the UN Human Rights Council has about human rights?
4.25.2009 7:33pm
neurodoc:
Donny: In fact, Bush did not base his decision on the fact that the ICC was a "dangerously bad institution and incapable of self-reform." Instead, he had very specific criticism, as the Heritage article you cite indicates. His opposition was based on the lack of "prudent safeĀ­guards against political manipulation," the "sweeping authority without accountability to the Security Council," and the violation of "national sovereignty by claiming jurisdiction over the nationals and military personnel of non-party states."
What is inconsistent or conflictual between those specific criticisms and calling the ICC a "dangerously bad institution and incapable of self-reform"?

Theoretically, there are good pro/con arguments regarding an ICC. In practice, President Bush's judgment that the ICC as it was actually created was a dangerously bad institution and incapable of self-reform appears to have been correct.
4.25.2009 7:36pm
bushbasher:
" .. a dangerously bad institution and incapable of self-reform appears to have been correct."

are you discussing the ICC or the bush administration? the suggestion that incurious george had a considered opinion on anything is hilarious.
4.25.2009 8:56pm
Dave N (mail):
The suggestion that "bushbasher" has a considered opinion on anything that is not a Kos talking point is hilarious.
4.25.2009 9:03pm
Donny:
Neurodoc: The two sets criticisms aren't inconsistent--it's that they are different. One set represents Bush's actual criticisms, and the other was the one made up by Kopel post hoc to make it seem as if Bush were prescient about the ICC.
4.25.2009 9:35pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Okay, I know you're not supposed to do spelling checks here, but it's just too hard to figure out the email address. I believe the word is "tenor" or possibly you meant "tenure" but as far as I know, there is no word "tenore."
4.25.2009 10:08pm
Dave N (mail):
Skyler,

I suspect you are right--though the website tenore.net is for sale (tenore.com is owned by a Sarasota real estate agent named Jean Tenore and tenore.org is a relatively inactive site owned by a singing "tenor").
4.25.2009 10:32pm
dmv (mail):
Chico nailed the logic of Kopel's post.

That story is about Moreno Ocampo. This is the only way Kopel can make it relate:

That Ocampo remains in office after six years is a very important data point that the ICC suffers from severe structural defects.

That in itself is a non-sequitur, and so is everything that follows that quote.

God help VC.
4.25.2009 10:41pm
Paul Allen:
David:

The ICC was the focus of my senior thesis. The Clinton administration signed-on with very clear reservations about the treaty. So your post deserves to read "Clinton and Bush". In particular, the treaty text assigns special powers and rights to the original signatories. Rights which would have necessary been lost had Clinton not acted. He also specifically sited an objective of signing the treaty so as to shape the early procedural norms of the court.

Evidence years on is that Clinton was been even too idealistic. Bush was right to withdrawal.
4.26.2009 12:27am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I suppose the fact that Bush was right about anything is sufficient reason for a blog post.
[/sarcasm]
4.26.2009 12:58am
MnZ (mail):
I don't need to read the article to know the ICC is a horrible idea. In the United States and most other democracies, if a judicial system starts throw people in prison unjustly, the executive and/or the legislative branch can set the unjustly prosecuted free. "Unjustly" can mean a variety of things including enforcement of bad laws, misapplication of laws, and enforcement of laws that disregards the totality of the situation. In other words, the ICC takes an important safety valve for the accused that has been proven over the centuries...and closes it off.
4.26.2009 11:20am
MnZ (mail):
Chico's Bail Bonds and dmv, great idea. Let's put a John Marshall on the Court. But before we do, we will need a John Adams to appoint him...
4.26.2009 11:31am
George Tenet Fangirl:

That Ocampo remains in office after six years is a very important data point that the ICC suffers from severe structural defects.


The prosecutor has a term of nine years. Is a lengthy term of office really a "severe structural defect"?
4.26.2009 2:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Fan. Some think so about SCOTUS, and we have an amendment regarding that and POTUS.
4.26.2009 10:17pm
Vermando (mail) (www):
Fan's point is interesting, though. "That Ocampo remains in office after six years is a very important data point" - that date point seems much less important if he is just serving out his prescribed term of office rather than if he is being kept there for political reasons. Indeed, it would be quite odd to describe prosecutors well protected from political considerations - and have no doubt that de Waal is politically motivated in his critique, even if he is right (and I have no idea / reason to doubt) - as an institutional defect.
4.27.2009 5:04am
Public_Defender (mail):
As I understand it, Paul Allen is right. Clinton signed the treaty because signatories had rights that non-signatories did not. So it made sense to sign, but not ratify, the treaty.

I agree that the treaty is seriously flawed, but Clinton was smart to sign it.
4.27.2009 5:25am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The EU wants some aspects of family law--primarily divorces--to be decided not by the laws of the country in which the action is going forward, but by the laws of the country the folks are most closely linked to. You would think that would be the country they are in, but in the insular world of second and third generation immigrants not assimilated, that is not necessarily true.
So that means sharia law in the UK.
This is an issue of sovereignty which international bodies seem to threaten. I guess they don't figure the interests of the women in question amount to much. See who was for and who against such a notion in Canada several years ago (Hint. The againsters were Muslim women.)
Point is, if you like the ICC because you think it will give you a warrant for Bush or Cheney, you might find yourself warranted for something you never heard of. Think this stuff through, guys.
4.27.2009 10:17am
Smooth, Like a Rhapsody (mail):
Chico and dmv:
Haven't you made your opponent's point for him?

If we were a signatory to the ICC, we would have to put up with whatever chicaneries and malfeasances occurred there.
If we get a fool for a CJ, we can impeach him or pass amendments to undo his court's decisions--to the extent that one man can ruin an entity like our SCOTUS.

"International law"--a set of proscriptions without a coercive power behind them--is, for the most part, a dream from which the left needs to awaken.
4.27.2009 3:49pm

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