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International Criminal Court and United States Opposition: A Structural Contradictions Model

NCJ Number
Crime, Law and Social Change Volume: 45 Issue: 3 Dated: 2006 Pages: 201-226
Dawn Rothe; Christopher W. Mullins
Date Published
26 pages
This paper examines the United States' role in the development of and subsequent reactions to the International Criminal Court (ICC); and it draws on Chambliss' Structural Contradictions Model to explain processes within the development of international law.
Due to the conflict and the contradiction of the diverse perspectives and laws of nations in the international society, the ICC has limited ability to exercise enforceable jurisdiction. This may mean that many of the most heinous crimes will possibly elude the ICC's jurisdiction. The ICC has the potential to change interstate power relations. The "weaker" states in the international scene have for the first time a direct connection to the ICC as a member for legal settlements or charges against more powerful states. The potential to balance the power differentials within international society is a promising possibility for the ICC. The establishment of the ICC, regardless of its limited jurisdiction (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression), could reach a level of universal jurisdiction regardless of the wording or limitations of jurisdiction. Thus, the United States would be included under the ICC's jurisdiction regardless of the U.S Government's claims regarding the sovereignty of U.S. law in defining what is legal for U.S. representatives and citizens in the international arena. On the other hand, the potential of the ICC is hindered by the limitations of jurisdiction based on issues of national sovereignty. This was the issue in the contested negotiations of the Rome Statute that defines the ICC's jurisdiction. It is evident by the United States' withdrawal, opposition, and flagrant actions aimed at impeding the ICC. 16 notes and 42 references