Comment on the Universality Lecture Question: “Is universal state participation in the ICC system desirable and, if so, how could that be achieved?”
I believe that universal state participation should be a goal for the ICC; however, I do not believe it should be an immediate priority. It would be ideal if the ICC were able to achieve universal participation because those that are not state parties have no obligation to arrest/detain indictees, unless the security council rules that the non-state party is obligated to arrest an individual--a rare moment. The best way to get governments to understand the importance of arrest warrants without always turning to long-lasting political dialogue is through achieving participation in the ICC; we want to, eventually, transform these moments of political dialogue into immediate response. However, the first priority is to actually ensure the participation of current state parties to the ICC; there is no point in expanding participation if current participation has been meaningless to certain signatories. For example, President Al-Bashir of Sudan, an indictee of the court, has visited Chad twice (in 2010 and 2011), Djbouti (in 2011), Kenya (in 2010) and Malawi (in 2011)--all state parties By allowing Al-Bashir to visit, all four state parties violated their obligations to the ICC under the Rome Statute. The priority needs to be enforcement of obligations of the state parties to the ICC; expansion must come when enforcement seems to actually be feasible.
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