Comment on the Universality Lecture Question: “Is universal state participation in the ICC system desirable and, if so, how could that be achieved?”
Universal participation in the International Criminal Court is desirable because it would increase the legitimacy of the court, but should not be the top priority for the ICC because it is not crucial to its function. The ICC was created to supplement local courts, not as a single dominant criminal court. This means that universal participation is not necessarily a critical factor, because a country could choose not to participate because they have a sufficient court system. From a different side, however, a country’s ability to try their own criminals should not necessarily keep them from signing and ratifying the Roma Statute because under the law they would still be able to try their own criminals. More international support for the ICC would increase its legitimacy especially as an organization funded by the United Nations. It is difficult for the United Nations to justify paying the current 96 million dollars in costs of the ICC when many of its participatory states have not ratified the treaty. Because of this discrepancy, the ICC should push for increased state participation. They could achieve this first by obtaining US support - I believe the US could be persuaded to ratify the treaty if the UN put sufficient pressure on them. Once the US had ratified the treaty, other nations would follow suite.
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