Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Strauss Distinguished Scholar Evaluates NSA Advisor’s Criticism of the ICC

Oct 17, 2018 |

In a recent article for the Washington Post, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar Dr. Terrence Chapman evaluated National Security Adviser John Bolton’s criticism of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is an independent and permanent international court which prosecutes war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bolton, who has opposed the court since its inception, argues that “the ICC unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and US national security interests” and is subsequently ineffective.

Dr. Chapman and his coauthor, Harvard professor Stephen Chaudoin, find the claim that the ICC is both ineffective yet also a threat to US sovereignty contradictory. He argues that if the ICC is not effective then it is unlikely the court threatens American sovereignty. Dr. Chapman highlights the fact that since the US never ratified the Rome Statute, no crime committed in the US can be brought to the ICC. The US also has Article 98 agreements with many countries which prevent them from handing US personnel over to the ICC. Therefore, even if the ICC were effective, it does not pose a threat to American sovereignty.

In the article, Dr. Chapman outlines alternative options for the US to influence the ICC. The US could cooperate with the ICC and therefore have more leverage in deciding which investigations happen. The US could also provide resources to the ICC, which would further increase its decision-making power. By cooperating with the ICC, the court would be more effective in promoting American values, such as democracy and human rights, and be less of a threat to US national security interests.

See the article here.