Moving Closer to the ICC

[img_assist|nid=7634|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=0|height=]Opinio Juris’ Duncan Hollis reports some movement in the push to improve the United States’ relationship with the International Criminal Court. A task force on the topic issued a press release issued yesterday, and, while it falls short of endorsing U.S. membership on the Court, it does recommend formalizing the ways in which the United States can contribute to and facilitate ICC investigations. Hollis sees thinks this advice will not go unnoticed in the Obama administration.

Although there’s definitely an internationalist tilt in membership, it’s truly bipartisan. They’ve met frequently and sought outside expertise as well…Given the membership and the amount of time the Task Force has spent trying to craft a common position, I suspect its opinions will likely get some serious play at the White House, Foggy Bottom, or even on the Hill.

It’s difficult to imagine that at least one of the task force’s recommendations — amending the American Service-members’ Protection Act, which Congress enacted to quell the (misplaced) fears of the ICC indicting American military personnel abroad — won’t face some intense opposition from select quarters, but the suggestions are eminently reasonable. The United States is already supporting — at least rhetorically — the ICC’s work in Sudan, so removing obstacles to this informal policy will only make it easier to implement. And there’s no reason to suspect that the Obama Administration won’t be more open to joining the Rome Statute than its predecessor.

(p.s. If we haven’t mentioned it before, check out In Situ, the new blog from the Coalition for the International Criminal Court)