Among the positive developments coming out of Secretary Clinton’s trip thus far are her unabashed comments in support of the International Criminal Court, or ICC. On two occasions, she called the US decision to not ratify the Rome Statute that established the ICC a “great regret.”
During a press conference, Secretary Clinton had this to say in response to a reporter’s question about the ICC:
"This is a great regret that we are not a signatory…I think we could have worked out some of the challenges that are raised concerning our membership said…But that has not yet come to pass."
The issue came up again during Secretary Clinton’s interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, during which the secretary noted:
“Well, that is a great regret, but it is a fact that we are not yet a signatory. But we have supported the work of the court and will continue to do so under the Obama Administration.”
Justice and accountability are intimately tied to human rights concerns. Ending impunity for those perpetrators of mass atrocities is integral to finding a lasting peace in some of the world’s worst conflict zones. The ICC is crucial to these efforts around the world and in not being party to the Court, the United States sits on the sidelines of critical human rights debates. Hillary Clinton’s statements are the strongest from Obama administration officials thus far in support of the Court. Whether the United States will seek to ratify the Rome Statute remains to be seen; as with any international treaty, ratification of the Rome Statute requires Senate approval and therefore a potentially lengthy political back-and-forth. But Secretary Clinton’s remarks are an encouraging sign that an increasingly cordial and productive American relationship with the Court is in the works.
Photo: CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviewed Secretary Clinton in Nairobi. Courtesy of the State Department