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US & ICC > Congressional Update > Positions in Congress

US Policy Generally

Representative Tammy Baldwin (Wis.)

"I and many others around the world are shocked and dismayed by the unilateral, confrontational approach that this administration has taken in the world arena. We must recognize the consequences in the world community of our rejection of Kyoto, of the International Criminal Court, of the treaty to ban land mines, and our own withdrawal from the ABM treaty. We must be mindful about how our criticisms of the U.N. and NATO are heard throughout the world community." Congressional Record (March 6, 2003)

Senator Benjamin Cardin (Md.)

"I believe that her work [as ICTY Prosecutor], as well as the work of the new International Criminal Court (ICC), is critical to deterring future war crimes and forms a key component of the international community's response to conflict and post-conflict situations." Statement at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law Hearing on "Genocide and the Rule of Law" (February 5, 2007)

Representative Anna G. Eshoo (Calif.)

"Although the U.S. has valid concerns about the ICC - chiefly that the ICC might become politicized and capriciously assert jurisdiction over U.S. soldiers or high officials charged with 'war crimes' - our belligerent opposition to the Court also carries obvious downside risks to American leadership." Congressional Record (October 8, 2002)

Senator Patrick Leahy (Vt.)

"During the last five years, America's reputation has suffered tremendously. Some of our ability to lead on human rights issues has been needlessly and carelessly squandered... And so has, I believe, our refusal to join the International Criminal Court - indeed, the Administration's efforts to undermine the Court - after our nation played a central role in the negotiations on the Rome Treaty." Statement at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law Hearing on "Genocide and the Rule of Law" (February 5, 2007)
"The ICC has refuted its critics, who confidently and wrongly predicted that it would be politicized and manipulated by our enemies to prosecute US soldiers." Quoted in the Washington Post regarding debate among senior US military officials on the ICC (November 11, 2006)
"[Y]ou've asked for authority to spend money on an ad hoc tribunal for Sudan... Under current law, the U.S. is prohibited from spending any money on the International Criminal Court, which is perfectly capable of handling these cases. Instead, you're asking to set up a new tribunal which will cost $530 million over the next five years... you know, the Sudanese victims of violence haven't even been asked what they'd like. They would tell you if you ask them. If you ask a victim of this crime, they'll say let's go to the court that's already set up." Statement during a Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing on Fiscal Year 2005 Emergency Supplemental, questioning Secretary of State Rice (February 17, 2005)
"By sitting on the sidelines, the United States is losing out on its ability to influence the structure and culture of this important new institution. Each time we refuse to join another treaty or international organization, which has become a pattern of this Administration, we erode our international leadership." Congressional Record (May 5, 2003)
"I am deeply disappointed that the Administration has decided to 'unsign' the Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court (ICC). This unprecedented decision will not protect U.S. citizens and military personnel from the Court's jurisdiction. Rather, it will work against U.S. interests by undermining our moral authority on this critical issue, needlessly exacerbating tensions with our closest allies, and encouraging other nations to remove their signatures from treaties that we support." Press release, Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy on the Bush Administration's Decision to "Unsign" The Rome Treaty (May 6, 2002)

Senator John McCain (Ariz.)

"I want us in the ICC, but I'm not satisfied that there are enough safeguards." Statement at a BBC panel discussion on US Foreign Policy at the World Economic Forum in Davos (January 29, 2005)
"I think we should open a dialogue on a variety of issues that the Europeans care about: climate change, international criminal court, a number of economic issues that continue to divide us. In other words, don't agree with their demands, but open a dialogue on issues that are important to them." Statement on Fox News Sunday, Fox News Channel (March 21, 2004)
"We ought to probably cultivate them a lot more. We ought to probably look at the Kyoto treaty, demanding changes, but look at issues such as climate change, which are important to them. The international criminal court and other issues that are important to them." Statement on Hardball, MSNBC (March 18, 2004)

Representative Nydia Velàzquez (N.Y.)

"We may pursue justice by seeking an indictment of Saddam Hussein for war crimes in the International Criminal Court, and we must affirm our democratic values by consulting allies and working with the United Nations to resolve this crisis." Congressional Record (October 9, 2002)

Letters Signed by Members of Congress

"We, the undersigned Members of Congress wish to inform you of our opposition to your renunciation of the United States Government's signature on the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC)." Letter to President Bush from 45 members of Congress (May 23, 2002)
"The ICC represents an historic step forward in the international effort to punish and deter war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide." Letter to President Clinton from 18 Senators (B. Boxer, C. Dodd, R. Durbin, D. Feinstein, T. Harkins, E. Kennedy, J. Jeffords, J. Kerry, H. Kohl, F. Lautenberg, P. Leahy, Jo. Lieberman, D.P. Moynihan, P. Murray, P. Sarbanes, C. Schumer, A. Spector, P. Wellstone) urging him to sign the Rome Statute (December 21, 2000)
"Signing the Rome Statute for the ICC would be a reaffirmation to our allies such as the United Kingdom and Canada, who have already signed this treaty, of the United States' commitment to equal justice under the law and the Nuremberg principles." Letter to President Clinton from 32 Representatives (T. Baldwin, S. Brown, M. Capuano, W. Delahunt, S. Farr, C. Fattah, B. Frank, M. Hinchey, T. Holden, J. Jackson, Jr., E.B. Johnson, P. Kennedy, D. Kucinich, B. Lee, S. Jackson Lee, John Lewis, C. Maloney, J. McGovern, J. Nadler, M. Owens, B. Pascrell, Jr., N. Pelosi, D. Payne, L. Roybal Allard, B. Rush, J. Schakowsky, P. Stark, J. Tierney, E. Towns, M. Waters, L. Woolsey, A. Wynn) urging him to sign the Rome Statute (December 15, 2000)


Senator Richard J. Durbin (Ill.)

"The International Criminal Court is still a source of controversy on Capitol Hill, especially on the other side of the aisle. But the Administration and their allies have set aside their concerns because of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur and they are to be commended for doing so." Statement at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law Hearing on "From Nuremberg to Darfur: Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity" (June 24, 2008)
"We will discuss the status of the International Criminal Court's Darfur investigation, and whether the federal government is doing everything it can to facilitate that investigation." Statement at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law Hearing on "Genocide and the Rule of Law" (February 5, 2007)

Representative Alcee Hastings (Fla.)

"The United States, for one, needs to build on the ICC's momentum by immediately committing to an intense diplomatic effort." Statement introducing a resolution commending the International Criminal Court for issuing an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir (March 12, 2009)

Senator John McCain (Ariz.)

"U.S. and allied intelligence assets, including satellite technology, should be dedicated to record any atrocities that occur in Darfur so that future prosecutions can take place. We should publicly remind Khartoum that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes in Darfur and that Sudanese leaders will be held personally accountable for attacks on civilians." Op-Ed, with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (Kan.), in the Washington Post urging urgent action on the crisis in Darfur (September 10, 2006)

Letters Signed by Members of Congress

"The Government of Sudan must hand over to the ICC all indicted individuals without any delay as required by [UN Security Council] Resolution 1593." Letter to President Bush from 55 Representatives (T. Allen, T. Baldwin, R. Bartlett, M. Bordallo, P. Broun, M. Capuano, S. Chabot, J. Costello, D. Davis, P. DeFazio, D. DeGette, M. Doyle, K. Ellison, T. Feeney, B. Frank, T. Franks, S. Garrett, C. Gonzalez, R. Holt, M. Honda, W. Jefferson, M. Kirk, D. Kucinich, D. Lamborn, B. Lee, S. Jackson Lee, D. Loebsack, D. Lundgren, M. McCaul, T. McCotter, J. McGovern, M. McNulty, B. Miller, James Moran, Jerry Moran, J. Oberstar, D. Payne, J. Pitts, J. Porter, D. Reichert, J. Salazar, J. Saxton, J. Schakowsky, J. Schadegg, J. Schmidt, J. Shimkus, P. Stark, B. Sutton, T. Tancredo, T. Walberg, M. Waters, M. Watt, L. Westmoreland, J. Wilson, F. Wolf) urging him to work through the Security Council for action on Darfur (May 30, 2008)
"The Government of Sudan must hand over to the International Criminal Court all indicted individuals without any delay." Letter to President Bush from 34 Representatives (T. Allen, E. Blumenauer, S. Brown, M. Capuano, S. Chabot, Y. Clarke, J. Crowley, E. Cummings, L. Doggett, C. Fattah, E. Faleomavaega, S. Garrett, R. Hinojosa, M. Honda, W. Jefferson, E. B. Johnson, B. Lee, S. Jackson Lee, John Lewis, B. McCollum, T. McCotter, J. McGovern, M. McNulty, M. Michaud, B. Miller, J. Olver, D. Payne, C. Rangel, B. Rush, B. Sherman, C. Smith, T. Tancredo, R. Wexler, L. Woolsey) urging consideration of ten recommendations before any move toward normalization with the Government of Sudan (April 22, 2008)