Approaches to ICC Situations


The United State's abstention to Resolution 1593 (2005) made possible the Security Council's referral of the situation in Darfur to the ICC. Following the issuance of an arrest warrant for Omar Al Bashir, the president of Sudan, Ambassador Rice issued a statement reiterating US support for the Court on Darfur and the requirement of Sudan to cooperate with the ICC. Ambassador Rice repeated this support following a Security Council meeting on Darfur in July 2010. On July 14, 2010 President Obama urged the government of Sudan to cooperate with the ICC following the issuance of an arrest warrant for Al Bashir on genocide charges. On October 17, 2012, in an open debate on the ICC in the UN Security Council, Ambassador Rice stated:

 "This Council should review additional steps that can be undertaken to complete the ICC's work in Darfur."

Representing the United States at the Security Council on June 9, 2016, David Pressman stated that:

"The Council must do more to ensure compliance with Resolution 1593 (2005) and press Sudan to fulfill its obligations under the Rome Statute, he said, calling upon all Governments not to invite, facilitate or support travel by any individual wanted by the Court." 



On February 26, 2011 the US co-sponsored and voted in favor of Resolution 1970, adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council, which referred the situation in Libya to the ICC. Following the adoption of Resolution 1970 (2011), the US Mission to the UN issued a statement and a fact sheet . The US has made subsequent statements following reports of the Prosecutor to the UN Security Council and encouraged "the Government of Libya to maintain its cooperation with the International Criminal Court in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1970."

On May 8, Stephen Townley, the Deputy Legal Advisors representing the US mission, stated:


"The United States remains dedicated to pursuing accountability for violations and abuses committed during the 2011 revolution. In this regard, we appreciate the continued efforts to bring Saif Qadhafi, accused of helping orchestrate the murder and persecution of hundreds of civilians, to justice. We urge all relevant Libyan actors to facilitate the transfer of Saif Qadhafi to The Hague so he may stand trial for his alleged crimes against humanity. We welcome the continued reports of Libya’s cooperation with the Prosecutor, consistent with this Council’s calls for such cooperation and Libya’s obligations under resolution 1970."



The Office of the Prosecutor publicly launched its preliminary examination into the situation in Afghanistan in 2007, and today it is in the third and final stage of admissibility. This preliminary examination is focused on alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since 2003, when Afghanistan deposited its instrument of accession to the Rome Statute. The three main bodies under examination are the Taliban and its related Haqqani Network, the Afghan government forces and National Police,  and the United States military (and Central Intelligence Agency). As the ICC only tries the individuals with greatest accountability, the OTP's examination will only consider high-ranking officials that would have have approved the alleged crimes. All of the alleged crimes will have occurred on Afghan soil, or on the territory of other States Parties but in relation to the situation of Afghanistan ( i.e. maltreatment of Afghan nationals in CIA black sites in Poland, Lithuania, and Romania). This is the first instance of the Court examining American citizens in an examination, and the opening of a formal investigation would be unprecedented.  Read more in a recent AMICC paper here. 



On May 24, 2010 President Obama signed into law the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. In his signing statement, he recognized the ICC's role in dealing with Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) atrocities and stated that US policy supports bringing the LRA leadership to justice. On November 24, 2010 the White House released its strategy to support the disarmament of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army and reaffirmed that LRA leaders should face justice at the ICC. On March 16, 2012 US Ambassador the African Union Michael Battle stated that


"we need to capture [LRA leader Joseph Kony militarily. He needs to go before the international criminal court. He needs to be prosecuted."

In 2017, the United States announced that it would be pulling out its forces looking for Kony.



In 2015, Palestine lodged a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC over alleged crimes committed in the 'occupied territory, including East Jerusalem' since June of 2014. This Palestine situation has been under preliminary investigation since 2015 and is currently in the subject-matter jurisdiction phase of the examination. Learn more with our recent paper on situation in Palestine. 



On December 15, 2010 President Obama released a statement in support of the ICC Prosecutor's announcement naming six suspects in the Kenya investigation. The State Department affirmed this support on January 23, 2012 when the Court confirmed charges against four of the six suspects.

On May 27, 2010 President Obama issued the US National Security Strategy which affirmed that "we are engaging with State Parties to the Rome Statute on issues of concern and are supporting the ICC's prosecution of those cases that advance U.S. interests and values, consistent with the requirements of U.S. law."

The US has made statements in support of the situations currently under investigation and prosecution by the ICC:

On January 29, 2009 Ambassador Rice signaled a shift from the Bush approach to the ICC by raising it in her first appearance in the Security Council. In her statement, she said that that ICC "looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda, and Darfur."


Following the guilty verdict in the Thomas Lubanga Dyilo case, which marked the completion of the Court's first trial, both the White House and the State Department issued statements in support of the ICC's work. In February 2013, at a UN Security Council debate on the protection of civilians, Ambassador Rice noted that :

"Recent events, including the conviction of Charles Taylor by the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court's judgment against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, show us that accountability for those who commit atrocities and justice for their victims is possible."

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas    


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