The U.S. and the International Criminal Court

Jen Trahan blogged recently on Opinio Juris that three statements made by the former U.S. Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Koh, prior to leaving office in December, 2012, could signal a return to signatory status for the United States with respect to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. At separate appearances at NYU, the University of Leiden, and the New York City Bar Association, Koh clearly stated that the U.S. respected the “object and purpose” of the treaty. Under normal circumstances this would place the United States in conformance with article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties on the obligations of treaty signatories. Whether Koh’s oral statements would trump the written note sent by John Bolton to the UN in 2002, withdrawing U.S. intent to become a party, is still in question.

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