PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION SUPPORTING INDEPENDENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT AND FREEDOM FROM SANCTIONS AND FREEDOM TO TRAVEL OF ITS MEMBERS
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association supports access to justice and international human rights, as well as the ability of those committed to those causes to carry out their work in an atmosphere free of threats and unlawful sanctions; and
WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court (the "ICC"), located in The Hague, The Netherlands, is an international tribunal that "investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression[;]"1 and
WHEREAS, the ICC developed as a result of the enactment of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the "Rome Statute");2 and the Rome Statute was established at the1998 UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court,3 representing 160 countries, thus establishing the only treaty-based Court created by nations of the world;4 and
WHEREAS, on April 30, 1998, the Philadelphia Bar Association's Board of Governors passed a Resolution in support of the establishment of the ICC;5 and
WHEREAS, on October 24, 2002, the Philadelphia Bar Association's Board of Governors passed a Resolution urging the United States government to support the work of the ICC in various ways;6 and
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association was represented as a member of the non-governmental organization, the Coalition for an International Criminal Court (CICC), at various meetings that were involved with the work of the ICC;7 and
WHEREAS, to date, the Rome Statute has 137 signatories, out of which 123 countries are full parties to the Rome Statute;8 and
WHEREAS, to date, the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute, but its citizens may still be subject to investigation by the ICC; and
WHEREAS, the ICC is a court of last resort, and does not replace the judicial systems of its member states, if they have a bona fide legal system and are willing and able to conduct such an investigation of their own military or citizens who allegedly committed crimes under the Rome Statute; and
WHEREAS, in recent months, the ICC has commenced investigation that includes citizens of the United States who allegedly committed unlawful acts, such as torture, in Afghanistan9 and possibly elsewhere; and
WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, announced that the United States would invoke emergency powers in order to threaten asset freezes and other punitive actions against officials of the International Criminal Court, their family members, and those who assist their investigations by stating that, among other things, the United States "will not tolerate [the ICC's'] inappropriate and unjust attempts to investigate or prosecute Americans";10 and
WHEREAS, on June 11, 2020, the Washington Working Group of the International Criminal Court (the "WICC"), an "informal, nonpartisan, and diverse coalition of nongovernmental organization in Washington, D.C. that promotes U.S. engagement and cooperation with the [ICC]11 has issued a document entitled "Civil Society and Faith-Based Organization's [sic] letter to Oppose Trump Administration's Measures against the International Criminal Court"12 , which urges the Trump administration to cease measures against the ICC that "diminish the credibility" of the ICC's voice;"13 and
WHEREAS, nearly 40 such organizations have signed onto the WICC statement;14 and
WHEREAS, also on June 11, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order titled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court";15 to impose economic sanctions and visa restrictions against court officials "directly engaged with any effort to investigate or prosecute United States personnel without the consent of the United States";16 and
WHEREAS, the ICC has issued a statement expressing "profound regret at the announcement of further threats and coercive actions, including financial measures, against the Court and its officials, made earlier [on June 11, 2020] by the Government of the United States";17 and
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association is committed to the rule of law and the process of justice, whether stateside or abroad; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the United States Congress to invoke legal means to block the enforcement of the June 11 Executive Order;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chancellor, or his designee, shall communicate to the WICC the Association's support for its Statement;18 and
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chancellor, or his designee, shall communicate the Philadelphia Bar Association's position on this matter, to the President, members of Congress, the legal profession, the media, and the public, and to take such other action as may be necessary to effectuate this resolution.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Adopted: June 24, 2020
5 See RESOLUTION URGING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PERMANENT INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, http://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/BoardResolution175252222000
7 See Enid H. Adler, "My Part in the Chorus: One Lawyer's Contribution to International Justice," 70 The Philadelphia Lawyer, http://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/TPLSpring07Chorus.
8 See supra note 2.
13 See id.
14 See id.
16 See id.
18 See supra note 12.