The Bush Administration "Unsigns" the Treaty Forming the International Criminal Court, the World's First Permanent War Crimes Tribunal

May 07, 2002

The Bush administration formally renounced support of the International Criminal Court yesterday.

In a letter to United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, the Bush administration effectively "unsigned" the landmark treaty setting up the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.

The tribunal will prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes. Many have said the tribunal is exactly the type of international forum needed to prosecute the likes of Osama bin Laden. But the Bush administration didn’t want to expose US soldiers and officials to prosecution.

The chief of the treaty section for the United Nations said it was unheard of for a nation that signed a treaty to withdraw that signature.

Most democratic nations and all European Union countries have ratified or are close to ratifying the treaty.


  • Reed Brody, Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch.

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  • Sub City–Tracy Chapman, Crossroads (Elektra CD).