United States, the veto, and the International Criminal Court

Anarba Groub

James W. Pfister

James Pfister

The human rights tragedy in Ukraine has directed our attention to the International Criminal Court (herein ICC) with the hope of eventual justice for Putin and other Russians. International law normally deals with states, not with individuals per se. An exception is human rights, as they have developed after World War II with the Nuremburg and Tokyo war crimes tribunals. Along with human rights is the penetration of sovereignty of the state in the human rights inquiry. In the 1990s, the United Nations Security Council created war crimes courts regarding human rights crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

With the above courts, the United States retained its veto, first with the Allied powers and then within the Security Council. With the founding of the ICC in 1998, however, we lost our veto. In the negotiations to create the ICC in Rome, the states would not agree to a United States veto. We voted against the ICC (one of seven to do so).


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