The United States has never ratified the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court, or ICC, and, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared, “We will not tolerate its illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction.”
To protect American sovereignty and shield U.S. personnel from unjust and I the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and a key member of her leadership team, Phakiso Mochochoko.
In an interview, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Morse Tan said the ICC has deviated from its original mission. Instead of acting as a complement to national justice systems that bring perpetrators of mass atrocities to justice, the ICC has launched politically motivated examinations and investigations of U.S. personnel and those of our allies:
“The International Criminal Court has not functioned as it’s supposed to function. It’s supposed to be a court of last resort. And we have already dealt with the investigations that are pertinent to our personnel…We have the most extensive justice system that is the envy and model for the world. And the idea that we can’t handle it ourselves is, frankly, ludicrous.”
Ambassador Tan said that the political investigations the ICC has launched, including against U.S. personnel in Afghanistan, is hampering, rather than advancing justice.
"And this is not what the Court is supposed to be doing. It’s been largely, even according to its staunchest supporters, inefficient and ineffective. It has a grand total of four convictions on the substantive crimes of the Rome Statute, one of which is on appeal. The U.S. has done far more than what this court had done along these lines.”
Significant reforms are necessary to preserve any remaining integrity of the ICC system, and to allow the United States to partner with the Court where appropriate. But until they occur, Ambassador Tan emphasized, the President and the Secretary of State are determined to stand with U.S. personnel and protect them from being hauled before a body that has lost its focus on justice.