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The Contender
Con (against)
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The United States ought to submit to an international court designed to prosecute crimes against hum

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/1/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,609 times Debate No: 6726
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




I affirm:
The United States ought to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court designed to prosecute crimes against humanity.
Now some definitions:
Webster-dictionary defines ought as: to be bound in duty or by moral obligation.
Merriam-Webster defines to submit as: to yield oneself to the authority or will of another.
The term crimes against humanity has come to mean anything atrocious committed on a large scale. This is not, however, the original meaning nor the technical one.
In 1945, the United States and other Allies developed the Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis and Charter of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which contained the following definition of crimes against humanity in Article 6(c):
Crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, enslavement, and other inhumane acts committed against civilian populations, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
Thus if the term crimes against humanity is defined as simply anything atrocious committed on a large scale this definition is vague and should not be paid attention to; therefore, you must look to the historical definition of Article 6 (c).
My value for this round will be international justice.
International justice is the cooperation between countries to hold individuals responsible accused of dangerous human rights abuses, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. International justice acts as a safety net to ensure that perpetrators cannot escape justice by crossing borders i.e. Sadam Hussein
Thus my criterion will be protecting human rights.
Human rights are freedoms, immunities, and benefits that all human beings should be able to claim as a matter of right.
International justice is best upheld by providing basic rights to every human being. Without dignity and respect for humanity there can be no justice.
According to philosopher John Stuart Mill, "Men are born and always continue free and equal in respect to their rights."
Thus only when each individual is given the same respect and treatment under the law can justice be obtained.
Because the United States is a high-powered democracy of the people, my burden is to prove that it is in American citizen's best interest to join an international court, such as the ICC, whereas the negative's burden is to prove the opposite.
Contention 1: Crimes against humanity are a significant threat to justice.
Sub Point A: According to the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, "From 1950 to 1990 there were seventeen genocides, with two that resulted in the death of over a million people. In 1994, 80,000 Tutsis died during a three-month genocide in Rwanda. Genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are not only something that occurred in the distant past; sadly they remain a vivid reality. If there is ever hope to end such crimes, they must be addressed by the law on an international scale."
Thus because there are so many acts of crimes against humanity internationally, which are a threat to international justice, the only way to stop it is to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court system, such as the ICC.
Sub Point B: Justice is an essential instrument for deterring crimes against humanity.
Jenny Lin explains how justice will deter these heinous crimes:
Justice is essential to human rights. It provides a measure of respect for the victims of serious abuse and punishes those who commit atrocities. Justice helps societies come to grips with the past and move forward. It promises to save lives by deterring at least some of tomorrow's torturers. Justice for yesterday's crimes supplies the legal foundation needed to deter atrocities tomorrow.
Sub Point C: The US public has indicated to more strongly support the ICC than the government does.
A March 2000 poll run by the Program for International Policy Attitudes shows that 71% of Americans "strongly approve" of the idea that "top leaders, such as heads of state could be arrested …for certain serious crimes and then tried by an International Criminal Court, and if judged guilty would be punished." The serious crimes mentioned include, violating human rights and making war on ethnic and other groups in that leader's country.
Thus I achieve my burden because I've proven that it is in American citizen's best interest to join an international court.
Contention 2: Not submitting to an international court would undermine U.S. values
An international court must be placed in a larger context of a world shaped by law. U.S. foreign policy has consistently highlighted the value of international law, in constructing a world more similar to U.S. interests. Sarah Sewall and Carly Kaysen articulate
Throughout the past decades, the United States has played a leading role in strengthening international law in order to protect U.S. interests. Every new international legal instrument or institution has entailed obligations and required concessions of some form. The price of the accommodation has been outweighed by the benefits of both the specific institution and the expansion of a legal framework is the idea of equality under law. Seeking an exemption from that principle strikes a heavy blow against the international rule of law.
Sewall and Kaysen further by explaining how an International Criminal Court would actually be consistent with U.S. values:
Of course, the Court will prosecute and ultimately imprison some perpetrators of massive crimes who might otherwise enjoy impunity, and the ICC also may prompt national prosecutions where they might otherwise have been forgone. In helping establish the historical record and holding criminals accountable where states could not, the ICC may help end cycles of violence in particular conflicts. By reinforcing norms against the most egregious crimes, the ICC will have some deterrent value. And by helping to bridge the gap between promise and practice, the ICC strengthens norms of state and individual behavior that the United States has long supported, and it lends credence to the proposition that international laws matter, including laws that protect Americans overseas.
Thus not remaining consistent with strengthening international law is a danger to the U.S. because it undermines important United States international values. This is hazardous because the U.S. can lose valuable respect from other countries looking up to the United States and its international law.
Contention 3: An international court, such as the ICC, is essential to the prosecution of terrorism.
Terrorism is indeed a crime against humanity.
Mira Banchik furthers
The ICC's subject matter jurisdiction encompasses the most serious crimes of international concern. According to the analysis developed thus far, terrorism certainly falls within that category.36 The phenomena of ‘leaderless resistance', networks that are difficult to detect, and the availability of technology – including weapons of mass destruction- that can be used against large numbers of civilizations highlights the changing nature of terrorism, and its heightened (global) threat in the current era.
Thus because most types of terrorism are included in the category of "crimes against humanity", and an international court, such as the ICC, is designed to prosecute crimes against humanity, the U.S. has a clear obligation to submit to an international court.
Because I have proven that submitting to an international court, such as the ICC, is within American citizen's interests because it brings justice to perpetrators of heinous crimes, such as terrorism, and human rights are protected through this action, you affirm.


Because joining an international court designed to prosecute crimes against humanity is detrimental to the United States, I negate.

The presumption of this debate does negative because one ought always presume in favor of sovereignty because sovereignty is the basis of human rights insofar as soveregnty f the nation is but sovereignty of the self extended to a group of people. Moreover, presuming against the sovereignty of a nation by proxy presumes against the sovereignty of its individual members. Thus, since robbing persons of their sovereignty itself constitutes a crime against humanity, if a clear winner does not emerge you negate.

My value is also Justice.
O1: A prerequisite to any system of justice is an agent capable of enforcing the system's ideological tenets in the form of a state enforcing law. So if there is no actor to enforce its statutes, then justice cannot be served. Therefore:

The criterion is the protection of democratic sovereignty. This is true for 2 reasons:
1. The US needs national sovereignty to submit to the ICC. Sovereignty entails a consent based relationship with the citizenry.
Jean L. Cohen clarifies democratic sovereignty as a distinctive political relationship between a citizenry and its government within a defined territory. Internal sovereignty is based upon the consent of the governed; government is to serve the interests of the citizenry and public purposes generaly.

Since sovereignty is relational, it cannot be exercised in a way contrary to the people. Thus if an act does not protect sovereignty, it does not protect the people.

2. Sovereignty uniquely enables humanitarian interaction between states:
Frederick Petersen explains that respect for state sovereignty assured state leaders that efforts could be shifted from an emphasis on interstate protection to intrastate nation building. This is because countries no longer had to worry about random interventions, and could expect peace with their neighboring countries.

Inversely, not protecting sovereignty disables its ability to encourage humanitarian interaction. Thus, since the presence of such interaction is key to proactively preventing crimes against humanity and the absence of such interaction removes a barricade to the occurrence of crimes against humanity, sovereignty needs to be protected to enable humanitarian interaction.

My sole contention is that the ICC (or any international court) destroys democratic sovereignty.
SubA: Submitting to the ICC adds an additional bureaucracy to the legal system which sits above the law of the nation and thus overrides the ability of the nation to democratically adjudicate justice. Insofar as the states parties govern the court through voting in the Assembly of States Parties, the ICC involves a form of governance by majority rule. The offer to non-party states cannot be: either you join us in this new, majority rule form of decision making, or we will simply govern you without your consent or representation. A system based on the consent of the governed requires that consent be meaningful, meaning that it be optional, that there be a viable alternative to not consenting.

SubB: The ICC possesses unparalleled power for an international body to violate national sovereignty. The Courts ability to pursue individuals within a state's territorial boundaries and assert legal jurisdiction over internal crimes is a violation of state sovereignty. In short, the ICC has the ability to override the primary purpose of state sovereignty, non-intervention.

Now to my opponents case:
Definitions: I accept all his definitions. In fact, his definition of submit can be used for my case. We are giving up our own authority over ourselves to a higher court with such broad powers that we have no idea what they will do to us. We are at their mercy. This is a turn to my case.

V: Justice; Fine by me.
C: Protecting Human Rights. Ok, thats great. I would love to protect human rights as well. But we can't protect human rights if we are giving up our own ability to have humanitarian interaction! Look to my Petersen card. If we don't have sovereignty, we will not be able to have any humanitarian interaction. Sovereignty is a necessary factor to protecting human rights. Therefore, I win under his framework as well.

C1: CAH are a significant threat to justice.
SubA: This point only shows that there are a lot of CAH throughout the world. Fine by me. But this doesn't help his case, since he hasn't shown any impacts on how the ICC will be able to stop CAH.
SubB: Justice is essential for deterring CAH. Thats great. But how do you serve justice when you don't have any power? A prerequisite of justice is an actor capable of enforcing the laws. The ICC can't do it; their job is just to prosecute those guilty. They just say to those committing CAH: Ok, you're guilty. Now what? Without any actors capable to enforcing those decisions, the ICC is useless. Remember, the ICC is just a court.

Therefore, this SubB can be used as a turn to my case. We need to keep our sovereignty to be an enforcer of justice, and deter CAH. A point in my favor.

SubC: All this says is that the US public supports the ICC more than the government does. This has not proven anything. This doesn't show why its in the best interests of the citizens to join, it only shows that the citizens like the idea of their top officials being able to tried for their crimes. Thats great! We already have a legal system in place to deal with those actions. So all this point does is show that the US doesn't need to join. It doesn't have a single impact back to the ICC, and in fact is also turned for my case.

C2: Not submitting undermines US values:
My opponents only warrant for this is that the ICC will uphold US values, and will strengthen international laws, in favor of the US.
First, the ICC is a neutral court, above any international political influences. The US would not be able to change the court to their beliefs.
Second, if we wanted to uphold our values, we don't have to join the ICC. There are other ways to promote our international values throughout the world. Joining the ICC and giving up our own sovereignty is not the right way. In fact, joining the ICC goes against US principles. We are directly going against the power of the people over themselves, and are instead giving all our power to a higher court whom we have no influence over. This directly does against US principles.

C3: An international court is essential to the prosecution of terrorism.
So this argument is saying that the ICC is designed to prosecute terrorism, and therefore we should join. However, my opponent has not answered how the ICC will prevent terrorism, which is more important that just prosecuting them. The ICC can say: "You're guilty of terrorism" all it wants, but it does not have the capability to actually stop terrorism. My opponent has not provided any impacts from his arguments.

My opponents likely response to all my refutations will be that the ICC will be able to have more resources and powers, since the US is sponsoring it. However, this is incorrect. Yes, the ICC will be able to take people and land for their use, but we are not going to be sponsoring it. We are subject to its jurisdiction just as much as the next guy, and it only makes it worse since the ICC will directly violate our national sovereignty. If the ICC violates all of our sovereignty, then we will be incapable to providing any international aid, and we will also not be able to participate internationally, knowing that our sovereignty is not there anymore.

Therefore, I urge a negative ballot. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


Definitions: he turns my "to submit" definition saying that we are at there mercy:
1. The U.S. knows what the Court does when they sign the treaty to submit to it.
2. The only power that the ICC will have is the power to prosecute crimes against humanity.

V: Both agree on a justice-based value, but my value is slightly different. My value is international justice, which is the cooperation between countries to hold individuals responsible accused of dangerous human rights abuses, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Justice is better achieved through my case because in submitting to an international court, such as the ICC, the U.S. is strengthening its legal system by increasing justice, which eventually leads to a better society, because by deterring heinous crimes, the U.S. is maintaining is global hegemonic status.

C: My opponent says that we are giving up humanitarian interaction by giving up sovereignty:
1. He never makes it clear why giving up sovereignty and humanitarian interaction is bad, so you cannot look to this argument.
2. He doesn't have any evidence of how sovereignty is given up or how humanitarian intervention is given up. He gives claims, but they are unwarranted and unimpacted, therefore you cannot look to them.
3: I protect human rights by protecting our society against heinous crimes, and I prove that it is in American citizen's best interest to join the ICC.

Sub Point A: My opponent said that I don't tell how an international court prevents these crimes, but I don't have to. My claim talks about how crimes against humanity harm justice. My opponent has obviously missed the last sentence of my evidence, which specifically states: "If there is ever hope to end such crimes, they must be addressed by the law on an international scale." This shows that the world is in desperate need of justice on an international scale i.e. my value; therefore, extend this point across the flow.

Sub Point B: My opponent doesn't believe that justice is not served through the ICC, but it is because the ICC's job is to prosecute those guilty of crimes against humanity, which serves as a clear tool for enforcing justice, and eventually, deterring future crimes against humanity-refer to my Lin card.
Also, he tries to turn this by saying that sovereignty is needed to enforce justice, but doesn't give a warrant for this so pay no attention to this argument.

Sub Point C: My opponent says that we already have a legal system capable of dealing with mentioned crimes, but the crimes mentioned included: violating human rights and making war on ethnic and other groups in that leader's country; this links to the ICC because all of these are considered crimes against humanity, which the ICC is designed to prosecute, not our current legal system. Thus I have achieved my burden.

1: My opponent says that the U.S. will not be able to change the court to match their beliefs, but this is irrelevant because the U.S. doesn't have to. All I am proving with this argument is that strengthening international is a core value of the U.S., and that not submitting to an international court would undermine that.
2: My opponent shows no evidence of how joining an international court would undermine values, and I show clear evidence of how it does, you have to look to my 2nd contention.

My opponent says I'm unwarranted and unimpacted:
1: My warrant is clearly in the Banchik card (it clearly says how terrorism is a crime against humanity).
2: My impact is in my evidence (it talks about the severity of terrorism).
3: Because the ICC can prosecute terrorism, this is just one more reason to vote pro.

V: Justice
My value of international justice is better because:
1: The resolution is questioning submitting to an INTERNATIONAL court, not just a court; therefore, you look to an international conception of justice rather than vaguely "justice."
2: The U.S. joining an international court is strengthening the U.S. in terms of its hegemonic status. The actor enforcing this international justice is the U.S. and all of the signatories of the ICC.
3: Justice is better achieved through my case because in submitting to an international court, such as the ICC, the U.S. is strengthening its legal system by increasing justice, which eventually leads to a better society, because heinous crimes such as terrorism are effectively prosecuted through the ICC.

C: Protection of democratic sovereignty
1: My opponent shows no clear reason of how protecting sovereignty upholds his value of justice, and because a criterion is meant to uphold your value, you cannot look to his framework.
2: My opponent's card on internal sovereignty contradicts his criterion because internal sovereignty is different from his criterion of protecting democratic sovereignty, so this is another reason you cannot look to his framework.
3: My opponent doesn't explain how not encouraging human interaction is a bad thing. He just says how sovereignty enables it.
4: He has no warrant for how the presence of human interaction is the key to preventing crimes against humanity, which is the basis of his argument; therefore, you cannot look to this framework.

C1: The ICC (or any international court) destroys democratic sovereignty.

Sub Point A: This whole argument must be looked past, because he has no evidence for any part of his warrant. My opponent is expecting me and the voting poll to know that all of this is true about the ICC, and that's unfair, so this whole sub point is void.

Sub Point B: It ruins sovereignty ("supposedly"). So what? My opponent doesn't say how this is bad, and we cannot assume that it's bad or good without an impact to society; therefore this sub point is also void.
Because I have a basic framework (claim, warrant, evidence, impact) all throughout my contentions, you must disregard his and look to mine in this debate.

I've started off by winning the value debate, I've taken out his criterion, I've taken out his entire framework, and proven why you cannot look to his contention and must look to mine.
So I urge an affirmative ballot, thank you for your time.


I just wanted to begin by thanking my opponent for this topic, and such a wonderful debate. However, I do believe his responses are lacking in certain important aspects, and from those important parts, I am going to show why a negative ballot is preferable to an affirmative ballot.

Lets begin with my opponents case:

V. So my opponent believes that International Justice is not the same as Justice. His warrant is that in submitting to the ICC, we strengthen our own legal system, since we increase justice. He then lists a snowball effect.
Problems: 1. He has no direct link from strengthening our own legal system to increasing justice. Increasing international justice through the ICC will not strengthen our own legal system. In fact, it weakens our own legal system, since our courts will not be prosecuting crimes that they normally would have been, without the ICC interfering. So my opponents argument doesn't stand, and we can still accept both our values. Just thought I'd make that clear.

1. It is self explanatory why giving up sovereignty and humanitarian interaction is bad. It's in my case. Look to my argument where robbing people of their sovereignty is a crime against humanity. Instant refutation. Thank you. If you don't buy that, here's another reason: We need national sovereignty to submit. Look to my Cohen card, where it shows how sovereignty is a relationship between the citizens and the government. Without the government having sovereignty, it is not serving the people. That is obviously wrong. Also, giving up our ability to help others is obviously bad. I don't see where my opponent is coming from, and neither should the judge.
2. My opponent claims I have no evidence. Look to my Petersen card. And I quote: respect for state sovereignty assured state leaders that efforts could be shifted from an emphasis on interstate protection to intrastate nation building. Without sovereignty, we will have to emphasize interstate protection, and we will not be able to participate in intrastate nation building. My evidence is right there! If you don't have any international respect for your sovereignty, then you will not be able to help anyone, as you will be worrying about interstate issues, and attacks from foreign threats. Boom. Refuted.
3. Again. Our own justice system is capable of dealing with heinous crimes. He provides no evidence of how our own justice system is inadequate for prosecuting crimes.

SubA: Wait one moment... My opponent just said he didn't have to prove that an international court prevents crimes. If that is true, then I win. His whole case is supposed to show how the ICC will stop CAH. He just admitted that it might not. Thank you *Bows and leaves* *Comes back in* And if you don't buy that, here I go.

SubB: Ok, so my opponents only real refutation is that I don't have a warrant for why sovereignty is needed to enforce justice. He obviously has not read my Cohen and Petersen cards. They outline exactly why sovereignty is needed. Cohen says that if you don't have sovereignty, you can't serve the people, which is the governments job. My Petersen Card explains how without sovereignty, you run the risk of foreign threats, which is a threat to justice, since CAH are inevitably going to happen through a foreign threat. (Look to 9/11)

SubC: Ok, So the ICC is supposed to prosecute these things. So is our justice system. Our justice system is designed to be a check on everyone else's power. My opponent has not shown any evidence of how our justice system is inadequate to deal with such crimes. If you mass murder, you will be brought to justice under our system. If you own people as slaves, you will be dealt with under our system. My opponents argument falls. I win this argument again. Also, my opponent has not provided any impacts on how the ICC will stop such things.

Recap of my opponents C1: I have refuted all of it, and he has no impacts. I win this argument.

1. I agree, we should increase our international power. But giving up our power to a higher court, which we have no power over, is not the way to increase our power. Rather, it will decrease our power. So I achieve my opponents aims better than his own argument.
2. Um... I have shown clearly that joining an international court actually reduces our international power, since we will be answering to someone higher than us. We have no say over what they do, and they can prosecute us at their will. We actually can't look to this argument.

1. Terrorism being a crime against humanity is not an impact as to why we should join an international court.
2. Same thing.
3. Prosecuting is not the same thing as stopping. One more reason to vote Con.

Really, all my refutations to all his arguments can be found in my response to his first contention. He has not a single impact. Therefore, if anything, presumption goes negative. Look to my first paragraph, in my first speech.

My case:
V. I already discussed this. To save characters, I'll be brief.
1. Look. Justice is justice is justice. Justice is giving each their due. So international justice is giving each their due, internationally. Same thing...
2. We are actually losing our hegemony if we have to submit to a higher court. We won't be very effective, as we will have lost all our sovereignty. We also will have to be constantly looking over our shoulders to make sure that everything we do is ok, and our military will become weakened. If we have to go through one more bureaucracy in order to do one action, that just slows us down, making us weaker.
3. That's great. You are going for justice. But the ICC isn't the best way. My opponent still hasn't shown how the ICC will stop anything.

1. Um... Without sovereignty, you run the risk of having to worry about interstate issues. Petersen card. Without any democratic sovereignty, we can't uphold anything, since we have no power.
2. Internal sovereignty in the US IS democratic sovereignty.
3. Wait. So you want me to show how no humanitarian interaction is bad? That's what you are advocating. Please get your case straight. You are trying to get the US to cooperate with everyone and help each other achieve justice. If there is not humanitarian interaction, then no international community will come out and help each other, as everyone is worried about everyone else. Look to Petersen.

SubA: I have no warrant? Look to Morris. The ICC is just one more bureaucratic level we have to go through, and has the unique ability to undermine any state sovereignty. This point stands.

SubB: Wait. So my opponent is now asking for an impact on society. OK: Without sovereignty, we have no interstate nation building. We can't help each other. The world is at a stand still because no one trusts one another. Done.
And you actually have no impacts. So we can't look to your arguments.
Ok, so I have 1000 characters left. I'll use them to summarize the debate:
Framework: Justice/International Justice.
We are both going for the same thing here, giving each their due. No voting issue here.
Criterion's: Protecting Dem. Sovereignty/ Protecting Human Rights.
My opponent doesn't really argue his criterion, but realize that without any democratic sovereignty, we can't protect human rights. So my criterion is a necessary object for his criteria, so we should look to mine first, as it matters more in this round, as we must first get sovereignty before anything.
My opponent has not provided any impacts, and he in fact has said that he doesn't need to provide impacts. So I win all his contentions. Also, many of them can be turned to my case, since his second contention actually helps my case, as joining the ICC undermines US values.
All my contentions stand, as my opponent has not seen my warrants and my impacts, and has decided to claim that there are none.
Therefore, I win on the contention level. Please don't f
Debate Round No. 2
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by technite 7 years ago
I didn't vote, but I will voice my opinions. (I know LD, so I am qualified)
I negate.
1. Criteria: Both of you agree that the ultimate ends of your criteria is protecting human rights, so I look to that. There is no reason to limit the debate to dem. sov. if human rts. can be upheld by other means.
2. Offense on AC: I buy Neg's argument to C1/C3 that the aff doesn't establish solvency in showing that the ICC will prevent CAH. I also buy Neg's turn on C2 that we can't strengthen int'l relations if our values are undermined.
3. NC: Neg showed me that the ICC violates sov. (I thought the warrants were weak, but Aff's arg was weaker) Also, neg pulled through the impacts of violating sovereignty from the Cohen/Petersen cards and cross-applied them to C2. Neg now has 3 pieces of offense, and I think the easiest way for me to negate is off sovereignty impacts through the Petersen analysis.

Side Note: Aff, you could've won by questioning the warrants the Neg was providing instead of the impacts. Neg had good impact analysis but some of the NC points were shakily warranted, like Petersen, which wasn't sufficiently rebutted. I thought that the link between sov./human rights could've been better articulated but this wasn't really questioned by Aff. All Aff did was say that sov. isn't bad. All neg had to do is show why it is.
Posted by burningpuppies101 7 years ago
that last sentence should read: Please don't forget about my presumption argument from my first speech.

Thanks for the debate.

And I request RFDs, please.
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Vote Placed by lordjosh 7 years ago
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