The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

The U.S. ought to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court to prosecute CAH's

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,868 times Debate No: 6411
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




Hey everyone, this is my first debate on this site, and I can't wait to get started. I do LD for my school's team, and I'd love to debate this new resolved before its first tournament. I've noticed that there have been a few (excellent) debates on this topic already, but I thought some people would be in the same position I'm in and want to debate it nonetheless. I'll take Aff.


I affirm.

Resolved: The United States ought to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court designed to prosecute crimes against humanity.

In order to clarify, I offer the following definitions, per Merriam Webster's Dictionary unless otherwise stated:

Ought: Used to express duty or moral obligation

Submit: To yield to governance or authority of

Jurisdiction: The power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law

International: Of, relating to, or affecting two or more nations

Crime Against Humanity: The Rome Statute defines crimes against humanity as "Particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity."

I value justice, or "giving each their due." This is the appropriate value for the round because we are determining whether or not we have an obligation to try those accused of committing crimes against humanity in front of an international court. To determine obligation, we must ask if it is one's due to have the action in question done upon them. Therefore, justice is the only appropriate value for the round. My criterion for this round is proportionality, or the idea that the consequences to an action ought to vary in harshness based on the severity of the action. The purpose of proportionality is to give reward to actions which merit it and punishment to

Contention I: The example set by the United States would influence more corrupted countries to come to justice.

A.While the United States itself already has a mostly efficient court system, if it were to join an international court to try crimes against humanity, countries that do not have an efficient court system would be more inclined to join. For example, the United Nations is based in, and largely influenced by, the United States, and currently is affiliated with 192 countries, many of which have little to no court system. The primary reason that current international courts such as the International Court of Justice are not succeeding is because they have not had a large, influential nation such as the United States submit to them. Should this happen, nations with poor judicial systems would be more eager to join the international court, and would in turn have a way to treat their potential criminals in a more humane (or harsh, if that be the case) manner. Crimes against humanity are so grave that they transcend any borders, and therefore, it is only proportional that, because they cause the same amount of chaos and despair regardless of what country they take place in, they all be tried in the same manner.

B.Just as the United States' joining of an international court helps other countries, it helps the United States itself as well. America's reputation around the world is slowly diminishing because many of our enemies and even our allies feel as though we place ourselves above all others, and we see it as our duty to spread our political and cultural systems abroad. Whether or not that truly is the case, submitting to an international court would adjust that viewpoint significantly. Joining this court shows that the United States is not above the law, and ought to be held to the same standard as any other nation, which is the most proportional concept imaginable.

Contention II: Everyone, regardless of nationality, has an entitlement to justice.

In negating the resolution, you must believe one of two outrageously false things: one, that every country in the world already has a significant enough amount of justice, or two, that it is acceptable for one to be denied justice on the grounds of their nationality. Thomas Pogge writes: "Nationality is just one further deep contingency (like genetic endowment, race, gender, and social class), one more potential basis of institutional inequalities that are inescapable and present from birth." Resistance to an international court is on par with any other type of discrimination, be it sexual, racial or physical, which is the most clear and blatant of proportionality and justice one can possibly imagine. The United States is obligated to support anti-discrimination, and is therefore obligated to support international justice.

Contention III: International courts make national biases less likely to influence verdicts

Nenad Miscevic of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy writes: "The universalist, non-invidious variant introduces enormous psychological and political complications. These arise from a tension between spontaneous attachment to one's own community and the demand to regard all communities with an equal eye." This indicates that one's inherent loyalty to his community often limits the potential for a truly unbiased view of others. This is true no more so than in trying a crime against humanity. Being the most serious crimes one can commit, the nation which it affects is anxious to be able to find someone guilty, even if they are not proven to be such beyond a reasonable doubt. International justice, however, lowers that possibility by a highly significant margin. Because the court does not consist solely of victims, it will be inherently less biased, and only truly guilty criminals will be convicted. It is obviously disproportional for one to be convicted of a crime they did not commit, or vice versa, and therefore, proportionality and justice are better upheld by affirming the resolved.

Justice, being the only appropriate value for this round, and proportionality, being the only appropriate criterion, are upheld only when the resolution is affirmed, and for that reason, as well as those presented above, I urge you to vote affirmative and I stand open for cross-examination.


>I would like the thank BrianErickson for starting this debate (his first on the site).

>I will state my case first, and then move on to that of my respected opponent.

>Thomas Jefferson once said that "[He] consider[ed] trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its Constitution."�‚�� I agree with him, and it is because I believe that Americans are entitled to the rights given to them in the US Constitution and the justices supplied by the US that I negate the resolution:

:: Negated ::

>The United States ought to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court designed to prosecute crimes against humanity

>I accept the definitions given by my opponent.

>Additionally, I would like to offer the following observations:

The affirmative burden is to prove that the US ought to submit. The negative burden is to prove that the US ought not to submit.

The only currently existent international court designed as the resolution specifies is the International Criminal Court, better known as the ICC. For the purposes of clarification and realism, I refer to this court.

:: Value and Value Criterion::

>The negative values justice. Due to the wording of the resolution, justice is the inherent value for this round and any argument that does not also uphold justice does not truly affirm or negate this resolution. The primary stipulation of this resolution is essentially justice as it refers specifically to a court system. Justice is best attained by maintaining uniqueness amongst other nations. The negative thus chooses the criterion maintaining judicial autonomy. Judicial autonomy allows differentiation in the criminal justice system. Differentiation is obviously needed given that not one law is universal. The US thus should not submit to a larger law body.

:: Contention 1 - Submission of the US to the ICC Abuses Utilitarianism ::

>Should the US submit to the ICC, the intrinsicality of its citizens would be limited; as would utilitarian results. Intrinsicality should be promoted by the US, but submission to the ICC poses the chance of citizens being prosecuted for defending their country. To cite an example, former pilot Paul Tibbets (now dead) would have been prosecuted for bombing Hiroshima in WWII. This effort, however, saved an estimated 2.87 million lives in contrast to the 140 thousand that were killed. Citizens of ICC nations are at risk for the simple tasks of doing their jobs. While Japan and other ICC countries would clearly accuse the Tibbets of committing a crime against humanity, he actually saved millions of lives.

:: Contention 2 - US submitting itself to an ICC devalues its own existence ::

>The US Constitution was made for the purposes of protecting the citizens of the nation first and foremost, but also the nation itself. As is evident because of its name, the United States is comprised of many (50) smaller states. These states are not strong enough to maintain status as a country on their own; therefore they make up a larger and fortified body. The States exist for the purpose of promoting autonomy while simultaneously maintaining enough power to function. For example, in Virginia citizens must obtain a learner's permit before gaining a driver's license. This is not so in such states as Missouri. The US allows the states to be autonomous despite their uniting into the US to compensate for the differences in culture and beliefs across the nation. By allowing for ICC which has greater power and influence than its own, the US is essentially a part of a larger country. Its Constitution is essentially null because all higher power goes to the court system which can openly prosecute US citizens. The laws of the ICC then take precedence over the laws of the US and endanger the basic existence of the US.

:: Conclusion ::

>In conclusion, the stipulation of this resolution is whether or not the US should become a part of larger court system which, in addition to its grotesque area of jurisdiction, would have precedence over nations themselves. The resolution is correctly negated because a submission of the US to the ICC would be detrimental to the justice system. If the US is to prosper the inclination should certainly be to negate the resolution.

>I will now move on to my opponent's case.

:: Value and Value Criterion ::

>My opponent and I have the same value. I agree that this is appropriate to value and will provide a weighing mechanism for the round. However, my opponent fails to justify justice as related to the ICC. The outcome of a trial cannot be considered just if the trial itself should never have taken place. He does not explain his thinking as related to the ICC. His criterion is proportionality. Though I agree that punishments should be proportional to crimes, I see no link between proportionality and this resolution. My opponent fails to warrant the relevance and meaning of proportionality.

:: Contention 1 - The Example Set by the United States Would Influence More Corrupted Countries to Come to Justice ::

A. Countries Without Efficient Court Systems Will Join

>The main problem with my opponent's point is that he provides no evidence or examples. He claims that "should [the Us submit to the ICC], nations with poor judicial systems would be more eager to join the [ICC]." How does he know? Are we to take his word for it? Have any countries agreed to join ONLY if the US does? Of course not.

B. US joining the ICC helps Itself

>This sub-point by my opponent is entirely unrelated to his contention. While his contention is supposedly "The Example Set by the United States Would Influence More Corrupted Countries to Come to Justice," he has included an entirely irrelevant point. It has no correlation to the contention.

:: Contention 2 - Everyone, Regardless of Nationality, Has an Entitlement to Justice ::

>My opponent makes two claims about the negative side before even hearing my case:

1. Every country in the world already has a significant enough amount of justice

I have made no such claim. I do not believe in the validity of this claim, it is false. The negative intends to prove that the US should not submit to the ICC, I have seen nothing to convince me that every country (again, not the US) has a significant amount of justice.

2. It is acceptable for one to be denied justice on the grounds of their nationality

I have made no such claim. The negative side is not racist as my opponent suggests. Again, we are discussing the US. My opponent seems to be bringing in other countries from other parts of the world as substitutes.

The rest of my opponent's point follows the same lines. Anti-discrimination has not relation or relevance to the US submission to the ICC.

:: Contention 3 - International Courts Make National Biases Less Likely to Influence Verdicts ::

>This is by far my opponent's most convoluted contention. He claims that the ICC will eliminate national biases. In contention 1 (B) my opponent explained "America's reputation around the world is slowly diminishing because many of our enemies and even our allies..." He contradicts himself, claiming that other nations are biased against the US, then claiming that allowing other nations (which are not happy with the US) to have jurisdiction would eliminate bias. It would logically ADD bias to the legal system (bad). My opponent goes on to say that "being the most serious crimes one can commit, the nation which [a crime against humanity] affects is anxious to be able to find someone guilty, even if they are not proven to be such beyond a reasonable doubt." He then says that submitting to the ICC LOWERS this risk. This is actually one of the greatest risks.

>My opponent closes by emphasizing his value and criterion. As stated above, he does not link them to each other.

>I assume no cross-ex.

>Thank you and good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


BrianErickson forfeited this round.


> I regret that my opponent forfeited the round. He was, however, online 2 days ago in retrospect to the 3 he had to respond. I thus assume drops. I hope that my opponent returns.
Debate Round No. 2


BrianErickson forfeited this round.


>I regret that my opponent forfeited the round.

>The assumption of drops (mad last round) is upheld because my opponent has made no comment otherwise.

:: Voting Issues ::

>None of my arguments have been challenged. They all stand.

>My opponent's case is convoluted and does not make any conclusive arguments.

>My opponent has dropped both his case and my own.

>My opponent presents no reason to vote for himself.

>There is no reason to vote for my opponent.

>I thus urge an Negative (CON) ballot as it is the clear choice. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by MartiCrazi 7 years ago
Nice job. Good, clean match.
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
Freudian slip...happens all the time!
Posted by Nobody 7 years ago
Lol I think his name is Brian
Posted by Metz 7 years ago

your first contention essentially talks about an increase in U.S soft power, and hegemony. I had this point in one of my cases but it requires a good explanation. What I used goes something like this:(outline)

Contention 1: Submitting to the ICC increases U.S hegemony. (this does seem to be a counter intuitive claim but wait)

A. The U.S has very little soft power
-conflict in Iraq, etc
-U.S hegemony is made up of mainly hard power

B. Submitting to the ICC increased U.S soft power
-Shows willingness to participate in the international community etc.
-fills in a whole in U.S hegemony, Increasing it
Posted by Metz 7 years ago
Not to be Critical Nobody but the point about The Hiroshima is faulty... The people of Hiroshima are still affected by radiation and nobody knows how many people have dies as a result of it.
Posted by BrianErickson 7 years ago
Technically I'm novice, but I've competed in Varsity for two out of three tournaments thus far.
Posted by Nobody 7 years ago
BrianErickson a Novice, JV, or Varsity?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by rowanoak5 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:07