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avgust 20, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SECURITY COUNCIL VETO:

Comfort for Americans, A Sellout for the Rest of the World

A Position Paper by NGO Family Voice, David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, Brigham Young University

Americans expressing alarm at the potentially oppressive power of the proposed International Criminal Court ("ICC") have been pacified with promises from the State Department that the United States will not sign onto the treaty unless the Security Council has veto power over prosecutions. This promise should offer no real comfort to Americans. More importantly, this position should anger every nation which does not sit on the Security Council.

The ICC treaty is deeply flawed. If adopted as proposed, it will set in place a court with almost unbridled power to define and prosecute "social crimes." The ICC can be used to persecute every nation or group that does not fall in line with the social agenda of the interest groups controlling the United Nations. For these very important reasons, and others, some within the United States government have opposed the ICC. Some of those people appear to be persuaded to support the ICC if the Security Council has a veto. They shouldn't be.

A Security Council veto will leave every American subject to the whims of the Executive Branch. The Adminstration will decide whether to intervene in any prosecution. If the administration in power, like this and other Administrations, has an "enemies list," or takes action to squelch political opposition, then those not in the Administration's good graces will have no protection from an unjust international prosecution which violates the constitutional protections Americans are currently taking for granted.

For the rest of the world, the United States' position is a betrayal. How can the United States be willing to foist this dangerous treaty on the rest of the world only if the U.S. builds in an escape hatch for itself? Given the potential for abuse of the Court, are those nations who are not on the Security Council really willing to risk their own sovereignty in the hope that the powers of the ICC prosecutor will not be turned against them and their cultures?

The position of the United States on this issue should be a wake up call to every other nation. The United States has told its Congress that it will insist on a Security Council veto. If there is no Security Council veto, the United States Congress will not ratify the ICC treaty. If the United States is not willing to risk its own sovereignty to the ICC without a right to control the court by veto, why should any other nation be willing to do so?

The answer is, they should not. No nation should agree to the ICC treaty unless the court is strictly limited to assure that it will not interfere in the domestic governance of member states, unless all loopholes are closed, unless the jurisdiction of the court is strictly defined, unless all crimes are expressly spelled out and strictly limited, unless better procedural protections to protect defendants are built into the system, and until everything necessary is done to assure respect for national sovereignty.