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The United States and the International Criminal Court: A Review

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a global organization created to prosecute individuals who have committed the most heinous crimes, such as war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. The United States, however, has been a controversial figure in the ICC, and this article will review the relationship between the two entities.

the symbol of justice and justice is a statuette of the goddess Themis judge's gavel. legal advice
The symbol of justice and justice is a figurine of the goddess Themis judge’s gavel.

Background of the ICC

The ICC was established in 2002 as a treaty-based international organization. It operates as a court of last resort for prosecuting individuals who have committed the most serious international crimes. The ICC operates independently of any government and is based in The Hague, Netherlands.

The United States Relationship with the ICC

The United States initially supported the ICC and participated in the negotiations leading to its creation. However, after the court was established, the U.S. took a step back and was critical of the ICC’s operations. The U.S. has not ratified the treaty that established the ICC, and as a result, it is not a state party to the ICC.

One of the reasons for the U.S.’s reluctance to support the ICC is its concern over the court’s potential to undermine U.S. sovereignty. The U.S. fears that the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. citizens and military personnel for actions taken during their official duties. The U.S. also objects to the ICC’s jurisdiction over nationals of non-state parties, which it considers to be a violation of state sovereignty.

The ICC’s View of the United States

The ICC has criticized the U.S. for not becoming a state party to the ICC treaty. The ICC has argued that the U.S.’s refusal to join the court weakens the international community’s ability to hold individuals accountable for serious crimes. The ICC has also expressed concerns about the U.S.’s treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, which the ICC has described as a potential violation of international law.

Current Status of the Relationship

Despite their differences, the U.S. and the ICC have continued to engage in discussions and negotiations. The U.S. has participated in several meetings with the ICC, including the Review Conference of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC. The U.S. has also supported the ICC in various forms, including funding for the court’s outreach activities and participation in training programs for ICC personnel.


The relationship between the United States and the International Criminal Court is complex and marked by differences of opinion. While the U.S. has been critical of the ICC’s operations, it has also engaged in discussions and negotiations with the court. The relationship between the two entities remains uncertain, but the U.S.’s involvement with the ICC will continue to be an important issue in the years to come.

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