There may be readers out there who, like me, care very much what their Presidential candidates are saying on the International Criminal Court. My friend from Chicago and I wrote to Obama a very long time ago asking about his position, but we never heard back (and were a bit peeved about it, considering that he's her US Senator). We finally decided to do the research ourself and turned up this gem from the (UNA-USA sponsored) American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC). It's a fact sheet giving candidate's actual answers to ICC-related questions.
I have to say, I'm not excited about Obama's responses, which basically give some cautious optimism, before noting that the Court is still young and "it is premature to commit the US to any course of action at this time." He also expresses concerns for American service personnel. Frankly, I think that if our servicemen and women can't behave themselves (and remember, in this case, not behaving means committing war crimes, genocide or crimes against humanity), they should be just as subject to anyone else to the Court's jurisdiction. Of course, the reality is that they would almost undoubtedly be court-marshaled and tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice in US military courts. This would eliminate the Court's jurisdiction because the US would have shown itself both willing and able to deal with these crimes. Ahem.
Where was I? Ahhh, Hilary. Her answer: Bush's unsigning has been really bad for us, the ICC has really behaved itself admirably since its establishment and "I will as President evaluate the record of the Court, and reassess how we can best engage with this institution and hold the worst abusers of human rights to account." I like this answer better. She doesn't say that she'll sign right up again, but makes it pretty clear that she'd like to be a partner for the ICC, in its investigations, and avoid being an obstructionist force on the Security Council. I don't think the Senate would ratify the Rome Statute in a million years, so I think this is as good a compromise as we're likely to see.
And, finally, Bill Richardson, just because he made me happy. I think this pretty much says it all: "The US should join the ICC as a full-fledged member. We have nothing to fear." Again, not in a million years, but wouldn't that be nice? Happy Joyce. :-)
All in all, I might use my worthless primary vote (NO ONE will care what happens by the time the Indiana primary rolls around in May) to show support for Richardson and maybe help him get the VP nod. On the other hand, I've been often torn between Obama & Clinton and this is the sort of thing that could tip the table. I'll be honest, it's a lot harder to be inspired by Obama when, unlike most US voters, all your news about the race comes in print format. Populism doesn't work as well when it isn't being delivered in speeches and definitely doesn't work when reported dryly by the Economist. On the other hand, am I a one issue voter? Sigh! I need to find out more about their opinions on the UN.