Argument: The ICC lacks democratic accountability to voters

Issue Report: International Criminal Court


John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. “The United States and the International Criminal Court”. Remarks to the Federalist Society. 14 Nov. 2002 – “Never before has the United States been asked to place any of that power outside the complete control of our national government without our consent […] our Constitution provides that the discharge of executive authority will be rendered accountable to the citizenry in two ways. First, the law-enforcement power is exercised through an elected President. The President is constitutionally charged with the responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” and the constitutional authority of the actual law-enforcers stems directly from the only elected executive official. Second, Congress, all of whose members are popularly elected, through its statute-making authority, its confirmation authority and through the appropriations process, exercises significant influence and oversight. When necessary, the congressional impeachment power serves as the ultimate safeguard […] In the ICC’s central structures, the Court and Prosecutor, these sorts of political checks are either greatly attenuated or entirely absent. They are effectively accountable to no one. The Prosecutor will answer to no superior executive power, elected or unelected. Nor is there any legislature anywhere in sight, elected or unelected, in the Statute of Rome. The Prosecutor is answerable only to the Court, and then only partially, although the Prosecutor may be removed by the Assembly of States Parties. The Europeans may be comfortable with such a system, but Americans are not.”