- The Washington Times - Friday, December 4, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over anyone who commits a crime on the territory of a state party (“Obama in handcuffs,” Editorial, Wednesday).

This is a provision of the ICC’s Rome Statute. It derives from the sovereign right of a country to try anyone committing a crime on its soil. Countries that have joined the ICC have assimilated the court to their legal systems, thereby consenting to this jurisdiction if they choose not to try perpetrators through their domestic courts.

Therefore, the ICC’s jurisdiction over a crime committed by any person on the territory of a state party to the statute is not merely the idea of Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor for the ICC in The Hague. The statute obliges him and the court’s judges to implement it. The statute also gives him the duty to examine communications to his office to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for the court to exercise its jurisdiction over reported atrocities such as those in Afghanistan.

The Rome Statute further requires the court to defer to genuine domestic investigations, prosecutions and trials of persons who may have committed crimes within the jurisdiction of the court. The United States would certainly avail itself of this provision.

JOHN WASHBURN

Convener

American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court

United Nations Association of the USA

New York

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