There was a (discreet) victory lap at work today at the news:
Russia to Withdraw From the International Criminal Court
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a decree for Russia to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The president’s decree, published on an official portal for legal information, says to “accept the proposal of the Russian Ministry of Justice in agreement with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other federal bodies of executive power, along with the Russian Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation and the Russian Investigative Committee, about sending the Secretary General of the United Nations notice of the intention of the Russian Federation to no longer be a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
Technically, Russia never ratified the ICC but rather just signed the Rome Treaty. This action removes the Russian signature on the treaty.
The US has never ratified the Rome Treaty either; however, President Clinton did sign the treaty in 2000:
The Administration eventually did sign the treaty, however, near the end of President Clinton’s term in office. President Clinton explained that the treaty had “significant flaws,” but that “[w]ith signature . . . we will be in a position to influence the evolution of the court.”  He also stated that he would not recommend that the next President submit the treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent “until our fundamental concerns are satisfied.”  As discussed in last month’s ASIL Insights, the Statute recently received sufficient ratifications to take effect and, pursuant to Article 126 of the treaty, will enter into force on July 1, 2002.
But this signature was withdrawn and note who is a key player in this wonderful patriotic drama (bolded):
On May 6, 2002, the Bush Administration announced that the United States does not intend to become a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. John Bolton, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, sent a letter to Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, stating that “the United States does not intend to become a party to the treaty,” and that, “[a]ccordingly, the United States has no legal obligations arising from its signature on December 31, 2000.” 
The same John Bolton being considered as President Trump’s Secretary of State. And the President-elect ought to swiftly appoint Bolton to the top post at Foggy Bottom. Why?
- Bolton is a sovereignty guy – he has a proper skepticism of the UN, the ICC and similar international institutions.
- Bolton supported Trump with scores of other Bush-era officials either sat on the sidelines or endorsed Hillary Clinton.
- Bolton is a perfect “bad cop” for Trump to send clear messages to other nations.
But there is even better news: Several African nations, led by South Africa, are withdrawing from the ICC as well! Try this great paragraph:
South Africa has become the second African country to announce that it plans to leave the International Criminal Court, a decision that campaigners for international justice say could lead to a devastating exodus from the embattled institution.
Burundi was first:
Burundi has informed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of its decision to quit the International Criminal Court, it said on Wednesday, adding momentum to mounting African opposition to the Hague-based tribunal.
“An official document announcing Burundi’s move to quit the International Criminal Court was sent to Ban Ki-moon,” Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Joseph Bangurambona, told Reuters.
And now The Gambia has joined them!
Gambia has announced its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, accusing the Hague-based tribunal of “persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans”.
The court had been used “for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders” while ignoring crimes committed by the West, Sheriff Bojang, Gambia’s information minister, said on state television.
He singled out the case of Tony Blair, former British prime minister, whom the ICC decided not to indict over the Iraq war.
Gambia is right of course. A permanent member of the Security Council is pretty much exempt from prosecution (although the ICC could target individuals like President Bush) and the targets of the ICC are small nations such as Kenya.
Now I do not favor Tony Blair or anyone else to be targeted by the International Criminal Court. The power is simply not there – did we give the UN power to jail persons? When? 1945? Or later? I know international lawyers will say some sort of legal doctrine(s) such as the UN Charter or the Rome Treaty itself gives that power. BUT I reject that doctrine. Rather I contend the Constitution is the supreme law of the land (next to the Bible most dear) and if we lose a sovereign Constitution, we lose all our rights.
So now what? Might more nations follow? They might:
“There is a real chance that there will now be large-scale African withdrawals,” said David L. Bosco, an associate professor of international studies at Indiana University who has written a book on the court. “The Burundi decision was easy to dismiss as a government seeking to avoid direct scrutiny; South Africa’s is much more significant. The African Union has been a forum for anti-I.C.C. sentiment, and countries like Kenya and Uganda may now seek to capitalize on the momentum.”
The perceived obsession of the court to go after sitting African leaders, analysts say, will inspire a mass withdrawal with other countries like Kenya, Namibia, Chad and Uganda having sent signals to that effect. “There is the general feeling among African leaders that they have willingly volunteered to be members of the court but are the ones who are heavily targeted. Again the perceived feeling of double standards by the court is igniting the discontent among the continental leaders.
Bring it on! The ICC meddled in the internal affairs of Kenya for a prior presidential election and was about to do the same in Burundi. And even the prosecution of the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Al Bashir, was dubious due to the failure of Sudan to ratify the Rome Treaty. Read from the ICC website:
Sudan is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. However, since the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in Resolution 1593 (2005) on 31 March 2005, the ICC may exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute committed on the territory of Darfur, Sudan, or by its nationals from 1 July 2002 onwards.
It is appalling to consider that the United Nations Security Council can in effect indict a person on serious criminal charges with the threat of jail even if that nation does not want to be under that jurisdiction. Who gave the UN that authority? I say no one did. You and I should reject that dangerous power. It will be used against global warming deniers or Christians (or US soldiers or officials), I can assure you, at some point in the future.
There was an attempt to arrest former Libya strongman Gadhafi pursuant to a ICC warrant, even though the African nation had not placed itself under the treaty’s jurisdiction:
Libya is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. However, on 26 February 2011, the United Nations Security Council unanimously referred the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the ICC in Resolution 1970 (2011). ICC may therefore exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute committed on the territory of Libya or by its nationals from 15 February 2011 onwards.
So I say: Let all the smaller nations set the example – not just in Africa – but around the world – let them leave the ICC and watch it die like the League of Nations did.
The Trump administration should do these four things:
- Appoint Ambassador Bolton Secretary of State
- Announce its support for nations that leave the ICC
- Refuse to support any other trials or referrals by the UN or the ICC
- Indicate that we will veto any attempt to continue to fund or support the Court.
This will probably seal my fate as a potential Trump adviser (Yes, I took the risk of presumption but I did send in my materials – willing to serve and I think I could help President Trump MAGA – but I regard it as a very long shot. Most of those plum jobs were spoken for already before the election.) but we must do the right. The International Criminal Court pretends to be a noble and upright institution (many who serve it are upright and think they are doing right) but it is an unmitigated force with neither the power nor right to act and will either only threaten smaller nations or will be used against the US and its officials and soldiers – or those not part of the Zeitgeist, including those opposed to world government.
But today let’s cheer these nations on – it is a force for liberty and sovereignty!