The International Criminal Court:
Please note, this action is no longer running. On December 20, 2001, the U.S. House and Senate dropped the anti-ICC provision when it adopted a final version of the Defense Appropriations Act.
Dear Senator/Congress member,
I am writing to express my profound dismay at the Senate's adoption of the so-called American Servicemembers Protection Act (ASPA), as an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act.
The ASPA is aimed at attacking the International Criminal Court (ICC), one of the most important human rights initiatives since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The ICC will prosecute, according to the highest standards of due process, individuals who commit heinous international crimes, like those committed against the United States on September 11.
The ASPA will not prevent the establishment of the ICC, support for which is growing in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Indeed, the required 60 ratifications are likely to be completed by the middle of next year. Nor will it strengthen protections for U.S. service members in any practical way. The only real impact this legislation can have is to diminish the credibility of U.S. efforts to forge coalitions against human rights abusers, including terrorists, now and in the future.
The coalition of support for the ICC includes every member of the European Union, virtually every major U.S. ally, and most countries the United States is seeking to enlist in the effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks. The message of the ASPA is not one the United States should be sending to the world, particularly now.
I understand that the Defense Appropriations Act is now in conference. I urge you to do all you can to make sure that this anti-ICC amendment is not included in the version of the bill that is enacted by the Congress. At the very least, I urge you to ensure that the bill that leaves the House-Senate conference is better than the ones that went in. It must, at a minimum, provide for the broadest possible Presidential waiver so that the United States can cooperate with the Court in prosecuting the worst international criminals, which is surely in America's national interest. America's interests are not served by locking future administrations into a rigid approach that alienates its friends while undermining the cause of justice.
I look forward to your support on this crucial matter.