"The Bush administration Monday formally renounced its obligations as a signatory to the 1998 Rome Statute to establish an International Criminal Court (ICC). Critics say the decision to 'unsign' the treaty will further damage the United States' reputation and isolate it from its allies.Well, okay, but what about the great precedent our fearful leader is setting:
'Driven by unfounded fears of phantom prosecutions, the United States has hit a new nadir of isolationism and exceptionalism,' said William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International's U.S. section (AIUSA).
A simple three-sentence letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan formally ended U.S. participation in an agreement to create the world's first permanent tribunal to prosecute war crimes, genocide, and other crimes against humanity. In the letter, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton, asserted that Washington 'does not intend to become a party to the (Rome Statute of the ICC)' and that it 'has no legal obligations arising from its signature (to the treaty) on December 31, 2000.'
The ICC treaty - which was signed by President Bill Clinton - has been signed by almost 140 countries and ratified by 66 and takes formal effect July 1."
"This unprecedented action suggests to the world that the signature of a U.S. president lacks enduring meaning," said Mark Epstein, the director of the World Federalist Association. "At the very time, the U.S. seeks signatures and ratifications of anti-terrorist treaties, an 'unsigning' by the Bush administration will undermine the power of the international treaty system."Well, I guess it could be worse, Baby Bush could get re-elected. Anyway, like many international treaties, once there are enough signatories it goes into effect globally and without regard to whether an individual country has signed it, so this looks more like a case of self-abuse on his part, then actually accomplishing anything. On the other hand...
And worse, it may encourage others to follow the U.S. lead.
"Other countries might well use this precedent to justify backing out of international commitments that are important to the U.S.," noted Michael Posner, director of the New York-based Lawyers Committee on Human Rights.