International Criminal Court to open

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will begin operations on March 11, despite the Bush administration’s worst fears. Under the Clinton administration the United States had signed the Rome Statute, which formally began preparations for the formation of the ICC. But over a year ago under the direction of the Bush administration, the U.S. pulled out of the treaty.

To date, 18 of the court’s judges have been selected. They are judges, which span the spectrum of legal expertise, country of origin and gender. The chief prosecutor, who will control the direction the court takes has yet to be named, but will be announced soon.

The latest country to sign into the ICC is Afghanistan, making a total of 89 nations agreeing to the necessity of a multi-lateral legal system to ensure global human rights. The Bush administration weighed heavily on Afghan officials to keep them from joining the worldwide consensus but the reality of life since the U.S.-lead bombing campaign has created an even stronger need of the rule of law.

The current administration has shown great disrespect for the ICC’s legality. However it has not managed to shake the resolve of the participating nations many of whom are U.S. allies.

Marie-Christine Likoff, a spokeswoman for Canada’s Foreign Ministry, told the press, “International support for the ICC continues to grow, and Canada hopes the U.S. will ultimately join in the process and support the court.”

In the end whether or not the U.S. supports the court as an alternate means of tackling terrorism, atrocities and aggression, today’s world dictates that a peaceful and orderly system of law take root.

The author can be reached at bkishner@pww.org