Explanation of Position on the Adoption of a UN General Assembly Resolution on the International Criminal Court

Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 2, 2020


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States has historically been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of meaningful accountability and justice for victims of atrocities through appropriate and legitimate mechanism. Perpetrators of atrocities must face justice, but we must also be careful to recognize the right tool for each situation.

The United States reiterates its continuing, longstanding, principled objection to any attempt to assert ICC jurisdiction over nationals of States that are not parties to the Rome Statute, including the United States and Israel, absent a UN Security Council referral or the consent of such a State.

The U.S. Government seeks to protect U.S. personnel from unjust and illegitimate prosecution by the ICC, which threatens U.S. sovereignty, purports, without our consent, to judge our highly robust and transparent national judicial system, and we believe poses a danger to the United States and our allies and partners. The ICC’s past conduct, including its disregard for the sovereignty of non-Parties to the Rome Statute and its ingrained institutional weaknesses, have led the United States to conclude that major changes are needed, such as an amendment to the Rome Statute regarding jurisdiction.

I have heard the remarks of fellow delegates with interest, frustration, sadness. Let me tell everyone, the U.S. remains a leader in the fight to end impunity and supports justice and accountability for international crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide. The United States respects the decision of those nations that have chosen to join the ICC, and in turn, we expect and demand that our own national decision not to join and not to place our citizens under the court’s jurisdiction also be respected.

Since the ICC has flagrantly disregarded our position, the United States disassociates itself from consensus on this resolution.

Thank you, Mr. President.