The United States and the International Criminal Court: Avoiding Jurisdiction Through Bilateral Agreements in Reliance on Article 98

In: International Criminal Law Review
Attila Bogdan Prosecutor, Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Chicago; Fellow, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago

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State-parties to the International Criminal Court Statute have a general obligation to cooperate with the Court. The duty to cooperate represents the functional cornerstone of the Court's existence. A narrow exception to this duty is contained in Article 98 of the Statute, which provides for limited circumstances in which the Court must refrain from seeking a surrender of an individual to the Court. Following rules of treaty interpretation, as well as an examination of the legislative history of the ICC Statute, the article explores the scope of Article 98, the provision the United States relied on in concluding a series of bilateral agreements that are primarily aimed at preventing the surrender of any U.S. nationals to the ICC. The article considers the issue of what impact, if any, the agreements have in the context of extradition, and the U.S.' legal ability to fulfill the commitments made in the "Article 98" agreements.

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