Ambassador Rapp (May 10, 2011): "The United States respects the right of every country to join the ICC. This was the position of the last administration, under former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, expressed in the public words of her Legal Advisor. In this administration, we have gone further to engage supportively with the ICC. While we have not made the decision ourselves to ratify the Statute of Rome, we are participating as observers in the ICC Assembly of States Parties and Review Conference, and we have offered to assist the Prosecutor and Registrar in each of the current cases of the ICC, seeking ways consistent with our law to help with witness protection and relocation, information-sharing, and the arrest and transfer of fugitives." Full Text»
QUESTION: Ambassador, earlier you mentioned that it would be nice, and Etta Rosales mentioned that it would be nice if you could put something in writing, is this something you are willing to do or planning?
AMBASSADOR RAPP: Well I certainly will make a copy of my remarks available, just to clarify on the public record that the United States does not object to any country joining the ICC. In particular, this is because in this administration, in the Obama Administration, we are working very closely with the ICC. We are offering support for each of its cases; they are cases that cry out for justice—cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity where the innocent had been targeted by the thousands for rape, and murder and other horrible crimes, and where there is no possibility of justice at the national level. We are particularly supportive of the ICC principle of complementarity, which means you go to the national level first and try to have justice there and you only go to the international level when there is no national will or capacity.
I worked personally in international courts for Rwanda and for Sierra Leone; but those were temporary courts. In the future, when there are serious atrocities in the world there needs to be a court of last resort and the ICC is that court. Even while the U.S. has not made the decision itself to join, we are content to see other countries join and we wanted to make that very clear here, while the Philippines considers whether to become a state party. Full Text of Q&A Session»