American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court
About AMICC > Strategy Statement

Background

The current growing recognition within the United States of the importance of multilateral collaboration on all fronts against international crimes offers a new opportunity to underscore the benefits to the United States of its support of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The commitment to the ICC by governments, NGOs and peoples worldwide has intensified as they reaffirm that a vigorous international criminal court is essential to justice and peace. AMICC members intend in their outreach to American public opinion to make the most of United States efforts to build immense international support for the Court. They plan to demonstrate to the United States government and public that their future ability to hold individuals accountable for the most serious international crimes will be greatly strengthened by a powerful and effective ICC.

AMICC members believe that with the Court as a permanent judicial institution and through the emotional power of the crimes it will try, it will provide important opportunities to energize the broad but shallow support that the people of the United States have shown for the Court. Now is the time to generate the intensity and the committed persistent action by the public needed to ensure that the US engages with the ICC. With the Court in full operation and completing its first cases, the Obama administration has acknowledged its importance and engaged with it. Coalition members will organize and motivate the public to demand from both Congress and the administration that this constructive engagement by the United States with the Court will lead to providing political support; expertise; and financial, material and technological resources and by ratifying the Rome Statute as quickly as possible. AMICC members will work for these goals simultaneously, while recognizing that they will almost certainly occur separately.

Strategy

AMICC members have concluded that the best way to achieve these goals is to work together as a coalition to join their diverse membership, resources, and experience in a nationwide campaign, by incorporating ICC activities into their ongoing programming, while continuing to conduct their own independent activities reflecting their individual membership interests. This allows for the coordination of efforts, the avoidance of duplication or contradiction, and the pooling of expertise and resources. The diversity of AMICC's membership organizations reflects the diverse interests the Court addresses. Participation as an AMICC member does not require a financial contribution, but is instead based on a collective dedication to the Coalition's campaign for full United States participation in the ICC.

The Coalition has both national and local activities. It makes a major effort to encourage grassroots activity in support of the Court. Members therefore facilitate the formation of local alliances made up of their local membership and other interested individuals and organizations whose interests will be forcefully served and advanced by the ICC and thus by the US relationship with it. These include bar associations, women's groups, human rights organizations, religious organizations, veterans' groups, students and young adults, and others. These groups combine their diverse constituencies to create local public awareness of and support for the importance of US cooperation in a strong ICC.

Initiatives that local alliances may promote include:

  • Education of the public and members of local government through the organization of public discussions, the distribution of fliers, demonstrations, and briefings to members of local organizations;
  • Work to counter misunderstandings or disinformation in public discussions and media statements through media contacts and education campaigns on school campuses;
  • Polling of local districts, for example by students in the political science departments of local universities, in forms compatible with national polls;
  • Work with local congressional and state legislative offices; and
  • Integration of the ICC into the existing separate and joint programs of alliance members.

These locally based activities will complement the work of the Washington Working Group on the ICC (WICC) in monitoring congressional and executive branch action on the ICC, and spreading understanding of the ICC throughout Congress and the Administration. Since WICC has many members in common with AMICC, there is effective convergence of the activities of these organizations.

Nationally, shared member efforts are directed at ensuring regular media coverage of developments related to the Court and of the benefits of United States participation; academic seminars and conferences in collaboration with, for example, regional law schools and university departments of international relations, and including leading law experts, state legislators, journalists, and nationally or internationally recognized experts; and popular and political events, including conferences and other gatherings to attract public attention and commitment to the ICC. Members also create and disseminate materials that provide a forceful and inspiring demonstration of why the United States needs the Court. Members integrate the ICC into their separate and combined national programs and activities.

AMICC also collaborates in international efforts to address reasonable US concerns about the development of the Court, such as due process, adequate resources, the election of ICC officials and effective oversight. This includes active participation in relevant teams of the international NGO Coalition for the ICC (CICC). AMICC is the US national network of the CICC.

To assist them in carrying out their campaign, Coalition members have created an AMICC secretariat, which is a program of the Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights. The secretariat supports and assists members in developing their individual programs on the ICC and their national campaign for the Court. The Secretariat disseminates and shares information about the ICC and ICC-related activities among members, other interested organizations, member-sponsored local alliances, and the public at large. To this end, the secretariat gives presentations on the ICC upon request to AMICC organizations and their governing bodies and members and at events and colleges and universities nationwide. It uses a website, a blog and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The secretariat assists AMICC members and participants in communicating and working together.

AMICC members will continue this strategy, adjusted to the rapid development of the Court until the United States has fully joined the International Criminal Court.