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Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law


International Criminal Court (ICC), John Bolton, Trump Administration, war crimes


In a recent speech, National Security Advisor John Bolton delivered remarks on "Protecting American Constitutionalism and Sovereignty from International Threats." In his remarks, Bolton announced a new American policy vis-a-vis the International Criminal Court (ICC or Court). According to Bolton, the ICC "has been ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright dangerous." While Bolton and others in the Trump Administration are at liberty to craft new policies, it is important that such policies be based on accurate facts and an accurate understanding of the law.

This Article highlights factual errors from Bolton's remarks and criticizes some of his arguments as misguided and contrary to the United States' interests. In order to do so, Part II first provides a brief background on the establishment and jurisdictional mechanisms of the ICC. Part III analyzes Bolton's remarks and the new American policy, announced therein, regarding the ICC. Finally, Part IV proposes how the United States could engage more constructively with the ICC and how such engagement would advance American interests. This Article concludes that the newly announced policy vis-a-vis the ICC will be detrimental to the United States' interests in the global community as well as destructive for the global fight against impunity.