Symposium on International Criminal Court

(See October 19th entry)

The two really exciting speakers at Nuremberg were Hans-Peter Kaul, the German judge at the ICC, who talked about Das Vermächtnis von Nürnberg – The Legacy of Nuremberg, and Lee A. Casey, from Washington D.C., who talked about the Position of the U.S. Administration on the ICC.

Before them, Klaus Kastner talked about The Nuremberg Trials. Vom gerechten Krieg zur Ächtung des Krieges – From a just war to rejection (outlawing? scorning?) of war, and Christoph Safferling about comparative procedure in the Statute of Rome.

Dr. WilliamSheldon, the director of the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut in Nuremberg, presided. There was some discussion afterwards, but it was with the audience, not much between the speakers, who probably know each other’s opinions after many years of negotiating.

There’s a report in German in the Nürnberger Nachrichten. The talks will be available on the site of the Oberlandesgericht Nürnberg, which is a good site.

The symposium was held in the courtroom where the Nuremberg Trials took place. I counted only 29 in the audience at the beginning. Maybe there were 35 later. It was a pathetic turnout. I don’t know where these things are advertised. I heard as a member of the DAJV, the German-American Lawyers’ Association, and I think quite a lot of the audience came from the Amerikahaus, either employees or people who do English conversation courses there. There were at least two journalists there, because I talked to them in the break. There were at least two photographers – one of them had a large digital camera with huge lenses, which I greatly coveted. Obviously the speakers were speaking for a wider audience than us.

Hans-Peter Kaul was a superb speaker. He sounded as if he was speaking extempore on a subject he felt very strongly about.

There’s an article about him in Die Welt online, and an interview of a few months ago. He stated a number of facts about the American reasons for not signing the Statute of Rome, and mentioned a number of Americans who are not against the ICC. He also emphasized the limits of the Court’s powers, to do away with some misconceptions about it.

Lee A. Casey said he was speaking as a private person and merely about his own opinion. He believes the USA should never sign the Statute. His main argument was that America became a nation because its people wanted to govern themselves, and the ICC is not subject to review by the American people. It is neither dependent on the people nor answerable to them. Clinton recommended not ratifying the Statute, because it lacks enough safeguards. There have been over 600 complaints lodged with the Court, most of them relating to matters the Court has no jurisdiction over because they happened before July 1st, 2003. These complaints often refer to American actions in Iraq, and they show there is a politically motivated attempt to obtain convictions of American citizens. aother point: some of the (only) 92 States Parties to the Statute are not noted for their systems of justice and any of these could have a US citizen prosecuted if that citizen were on their territory.

There is a summary of the US arguments against the ICC in German here . They can also be seen in the American Service Members’ Protection Act. There is an excellent summary here, including a summary of steps that should be taken to prevent the ICC from being implemented.

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