The independent news organization of Duke University

U.S. refuses to join ICC out of fear for the truth

Former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz said to those at the Nuremberg trials that, "You have it in your power to make the dream of a more human world order under law come true." The International Criminal Court created in 1998 and so far ratified by 73 nations, is the newest attempt to establish a court to prosecute those who commit crimes against humanity. The staff editorial on Aug. 28 fails to point out that only seven nations opposed the original treaty creating the court, including Iraq, China, Israel and the United States. True to our original stubborn position, we have yet to ratify this treaty. What are we so afraid of? Could it be that we are not in fact saviors of the world's downtrodden but too often the ones doing the trodding?

The idea that the ICC threatens sovereignty is completely ludicrous. The Nuremberg tribunal rejected the concept that state sovereignty could provide impunity in cases of crimes against humanity. The Rome Statute of the ICC has strong safeguards against politically-motivated prosecutions. An independent prosecutor is elected by the state parties and will need authorization from a panel of judges before starting an investigation. The Security Council has the authority to postpone or cancel any investigation. Only those countries threatened by the idea of prosecuting crimes against humanity are against the ICC.

There is currently no permanent means to bring individuals to justice for crimes against humanity. It is simply too difficult to set up trials on an ad-hoc basis and reinvent the wheel each time atrocities occur.

The ICC will probably not threaten a power structure that allows the United States to ensure the downtrodden remain in their place. However, the fact that the United States is so vehemently opposed to the ICC reveals that we are afraid of the truth it might reveal about what kind of saviors we are.

Bridget Newman

Trinity '05


Share and discuss “U.S. refuses to join ICC out of fear for the truth” on social media.