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The Human Rights Record of the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

By Lee A. Casey
February 25, 2003

One of the most common arguments advanced to support American participation in the new International Criminal Court ("ICC") is that most of the world’s democracies have already accepted the court’s authority. In May, 2002, for example, Human Rights Watch ("HRW") issued a press release, decrying President Bush’s decision to "unsign" the 1998 Rome Statute of the ICC, asserting that "[a]ll of Western Europe and virtually every major U.S. ally are strong supporters of the court. The only states still actively opposing the court are the United States and Libya." HRW executive director Kenneth Roth added that the Bush Administration, in a "triumph of ideology," had "put[] itself on the wrong side of history," throwing the "United States into opposition against the most important new institution for enforcing human rights in fifty years."