The Instigator
DebateMaster111
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Levi3o4
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

The United States should submit to the jurisdiction of an International Court

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/23/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,531 times Debate No: 6326
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

DebateMaster111

Con

Resolution: The United States should submit to the jurisdiction of an International Court. I stand strongly against what has been resolved, and I feel it must be negated. Why? National Sovereignty. National Sovereignty is the recognition that a country exists, and that it cannot be violated politically, militarily, or otherwise. Sovereignty is broken when nations invade eachother, and Sovereignty is important for a country to remain a country. If the United States submits to the jurisdiction of an International Court, then the United States would lose much of its sovereignty as a country. To prove this, I would like to employ Justice as a weighing factor. Justice is important, because the Affirmative of this case will attempt to make my position look as if it is violating Justice. This leads me to the burden of the Affirmative and the Negative. Because of what has been set up, the Affirmative's Burden is to prove that his case better supports Justice than mine, and I am trying to show that my case is better supporting justice. Now on to my arguments.
Point 1.) The Failure of the Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were the Trials against the Nazis for war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Sub-point a.) The Nuremberg Trials were a failure. Many of the true Nazi supporters did not receive their just punishment. If we had a new national court administer the punishments, it would have been much more effective.
Sub-point b.) Many of Hitler's top officials escaped true justice, because this international court failed to prosecute them for their war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Is this true justice? Is it true justice to let people who commited crimes be let go? No! If we had a national court take care of the Nazi criminals, we wouldn't have let 50,000 Nazis escape. They would have been punished justly for their crimes.
Point 2.) An International Court could be easily corrupted. A series of alliances could be made, and they could use their power in the court to destroy their enemies. If you're skeptical, I'll draw a scenario. Let's assume Fiat, or in layman terms, assume that the Affirmative's plan of setting up an International Court is put into effect. This court would have a representative from every country around the world have a say in this court. However, the United States, the Countries of Europe, and their Allies, could band together and claim that Russia or China was unethical, and that they needed to lose their sovereignty. Countries would be thrown into chaos. Using Justice to destroy your enemies is not something just to do. This is what is believed to happen by many court experts. "A court in which every country around the world, regardless of alliances towards others, it would be a disaster. Allianes would be formed, broken, and chaos would ensure over this great power of an international court. In the end, there are only two possibilities, the court falls apart as nations withdraw, or the Third, and Last World War begins.
My third and last point: National Sovereignty is more important than a lawless justice. A country is defined as a group of people who work together towards a common goal. The country is also defined as a government who has control over a certain portion of land, and their sovereignty is complete control over that area. If the United States wants to maintain sovereignty, and to remain what we defined as a country, we cannot allow an international court to have complete jurisdiction over anything, even crimes against humanity. We can punish that by ourselves in this country, and we don't need the help of an international court to do so. And as I stated earlier, it would harm us more than help. And now, I look forward to hearing your debate!
Levi3o4

Pro

My opponent has established the breaking of sovereignty as occurring when one country invades another; submitting to the jurisdiction of an International court is not the same as being invaded - any country that does this is still a country in every sense of the world, and therefore maintains its sovereignty, if not all of its independence. Even this substantial loss, however, is justified by your employment of Justice as a weighting factor - it is only fair that the United States of America, being a country, should have about as much independence as any other world power; if the court under question is such an important factor in world politics that we're even bothering to debate about submitting to it, then I can only assume that most of the other major world powers have already done so. (Incidentally, which one are we talking about, exactly? As far as I know, there are several. A full name would be very helpful, thanks!). In fact, not submitting ourselves to the same rules as our allies and enemies would be fundamentally unfair, and in fact violate justice. In any case, onto my opponent's arguments.
Point 1.) The Failure of the Nuremberg Trials
Sub-point a.I.) If the Nuremberg trials were a failure, my opponent has failed to explain what this had to do with the international nature of the trials - in fact, it seems likelier that all the countries involved wanted to hit the Nazis as hard as possible.
Sub-point a.II.) While the Nuremberg trials were far from perfect, they were NOT a failure in terms of not not convicting all of the right people - in fact, even though certain criminals did not receive the death penalty, the trials are more often criticized for being unlawful, specifically because the allies were abusing their rights and had no jurisdiction in Germany, therefore violating Germany's sovereignty!

http://www.umich.edu...

It seems as if my opponent wanted the Nazis to be punished more harshly than they were, s/he could get his wish if the Allies had done exactly as they had done, but to a greater extreme.

I would also like my opponent to describe the nature of his/her proposed national court. Would it be a German national court, which would behave unpredictably, possibly letting more criminals off? Would it be, worse yet a puppet-court that only pretended to be of German origin? That would just be an international court by another name. Or would s/he prefer a court consisting of members appointed only by one country? Which country, then? And how would anybody be able to guarantee that the one country would not go on a power trip even worse than the one the Allies actually went on? The point of a jury is to establish not only guilt, but degree of guilt - it is, in fact, possible to over-punish a Nazi, and the Allies were already accused of doing this.

Sub-point b) same as above. I suspect the my opponent's counter-argument will allow me to zero in on the the issues I have with his/her position.

Point 2.) A group of countries can just as easily gang up on another country without courts as it can with courts - see the War in Iraq. Of course, the country in question was far less powerful than Russia or China, but he result was the destruction of a country's national sovereignty because a few allies decided it was appropriate. In fact, an international court system LESSENS the probability of such an abuse of power: if the decision to strip a country of its sovereignty can only go through with a 2/3 vote, for example, then the likelihood of a successful scam is decreased. For example, say the United States, the Countries of Europe, and their Allies, could band together and claim that Russia or China was unethical, and that they needed to lose their sovereignty. This is put up to a vote. Less than 2/3 of the countries in the world agree with the United States et al, and nothing happens. No world chaos. If, on the other hand, more than 2/3 agree, then maybe the U.S. and its allies have a point. In any case, an organized system can always be insulated against hypothetical potential abuses, while the current situation, where we do not submit ourselves to a court, seems to bring us CLOSER to world chaos.
Point 3.) This point strikes me as being very evocative of the States-Rights issues before and during the American Civil War, in which states claimed to have more control over their land than the government allowed, and that the government was curtailing their freedom (to own slaves). While I admit that the example is a very dramatic one, it also fits; any proper International Court that would meddle in the affairs of other countries to the extent of violating their sovereignty would only do so if there was a very good reason for it; believe it or not, the United States of America is NOT holy, and its authority is not unquestionable; it is a country, not some kind of divine amalgam of God and country. If we hold national sovereignty to be sacred, the much of our foreign policy during our short time on Earth was downright illegal and hypocritical, and that we deserve to be invaded by something a little more threatening than a court (in the name of Justice). If, however, we hold that sovereignty can be defied under certain conditions, then we must also realize that we are not above these conditions, lest we become the same as the countries that we fight. I'd mention Nazi Germany right about now, but I feel we've already broken Godwin's Law enough for one day.
Debate Round No. 1
DebateMaster111

Con

Alright, I have defined National Sovereignty as when countries are violated politically, militarily, or etc. Losing the power of a judicial court would apply in this case, seeing as it would be a violation of their rights in a justice system, would mean they have lost a part of their sovereignty. Because sovereignty is so important, we cannot allow a judicial system to fall into the hands of an international court. By the way, I am talking about the International Criminal Court, in case you were wondering.
I would like to roadmap, first by going over my opponent's case, then by going back over mine.
My opponent has stated in what he labeled 'Point 3.)' that this may be related back to the States-Rights issues, before and during the American Civil War, and how the federal government was curtailing the power of the states. I do not mean to be rude, but I do not understand how this applies, so could you please explain? But your second point you make is that the United States is not holy, and its authority is not unquestionable. That is very true. However, the United States has its own laws, and it should abide by its own laws, not by the laws of an international court, in which the laws could prove more impediment to our cause than supplement.
Now to go over my case.
My first point, is taglined that the Nuremberg Trials were a failure. My opponent has stated "While the Nuremberg trials were far from perfect, they were NOT a failure in terms of not not convicting all of the right people - in fact, even though certain criminals did not receive the death penalty, the trials are more often criticized for being unlawful, specifically because the allies were abusing their rights and had no jurisdiction in Germany, therefore violating Germany's sovereignty!" Germany was then, not really a country. First of all, its government, the Nazis, had been overthrown, and in the meantime, they were going to convict all of the Nazis who were responsible before they set up a new government. Therefore, the sovereignty of Germany was not violated in any way with the Nuremberg Trials, nullifying your refute. Also, about 50,000 Nazis escaped true justice, because of this International Court. If we had set up a NEW government, had a NEW court, we could have easily had them take care of the Nazis, rather than messing it up with our International Court.
Protection of Point 2.) He has said that if a group of countries ally, there can't possibly be two thirds of the majority of countries agreeing with them, and if they do, maybe they have a point and the convicted country should lose their soverignty. Well, what if the countries of the world team up against the United States. For example, Russia, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam, the countries of the Middle East, many African Countries, and some Eastern Bloc states which haven't joined NATO, tried the United States. They would have a clear majority against the United States, NATO and its allies. The whole thing would turn into a political battle, and perhaps military battle, than a judicial battle. It would not make sense, and perhaps lead us to the Third and Last World War.
Also, my opponent has not brought up either a value or a weighing factor, so please do so in your next argument.
And I urge a strong vote in favor of the Negation, and I look forward to final argument of this debate. Thank you.
Levi3o4

Pro

Submitting to a International Criminal Court does not mean surrendering a country's rights to a justice system, because any conflict between the court and the country involved would be over one of two things. First, in the case of international affairs, where the justice systems of more than one country would be involved, so at least one county would have to submit to the will of another with or without an international court. Second, in the case where the country in question is involved in some kind of atrocious action, in which case the court would NEED to get involved and would have the right to do so; according to the Court's official website, the International Criminal Court "tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes."

http://www.icc-cpi.int...

So, under a reasonably-governed court with an equally reasonable rulebook, the only situations where our national sovereignty would be at risk of violation would be in a case where either a) sovereignty would be at risk of violation whether the court was or was not involved, or b) sovereignty would NEED and deserve to be violated.

Regarding my point about the Civil War: In the case of the Civil War, the states, which at the time viewed themselves as possessing sovereignty, did not want to submit to the power of the United States government, for the same reason my opponent does not wish to for the United States to submit to the International Criminal Court - they viewed their sovereignty as being too important. This was actually a major issue during the initial formation of our country. The analogy stands because of a similar basic squabble over authority in a given region - who should have it, the centralized power or the local, sovereign one? In any case, the Court, if properly managed, would only get involved if any kind of MAJOR issue occurred - one so major that our Supreme Court's opinion became irrelevant. Suppose, God forbid, that genocide were to occur within the confines of the United States of America. That would only be possible in a situation where we as a nation screwed up so badly as to allow that to happen, in which case the Supreme Court's authority would be very shaky. If we committed War Crimes, then that would be the International Court's business as well. Any other situation would just not fall into the Court's jurisdiction, so we wouldn't have to worry about our sovereignty being stripped. It would simply not happen unless there was a good reason for it, and the United states would be allowed to "abide by its own laws."

"about 50,000 Nazis escaped true justice, because of this International Court. If we had set up a NEW government, had a NEW court, we could have easily had them take care of the Nazis, rather than messing it up with our International Court."

My opponent has once again failed to explain the connection between the nature of a court (international vs national) and the court's success. How would a National Court have handled the Nuremberg trials differently from the way the International Court did? How would they have done a better job rounding up the Nazis? And in any case, how would Germany's four post-war puppet governments have been any different to an International Court? The logic of my opponent's claims is escaping me.

"For example, Russia, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam, the countries of the Middle East, many African Countries, and some Eastern Bloc states which haven't joined NATO, tried the United States. They would have a clear majority against the United States, NATO and its allies"

Again, there would be nothing to try the United States for unless it was involved in some kind of obvious crimes against humanity. If there's no trial, then there's no opportunity for the countries to team up. Also, that there are enough countries who hate America enough to frame it and then have a 2/3 majority. Such a coalition would not have any NEED to actually do any of that - they would be able to engage us in more traditional forms of warfare. A world in so much turmoil that the Court can be successfully hijacked like that is a world where the existence of the court is irrelevant, so if we ever get to my opponent's hypothetical situation, the court would no longer be relevant. At the end of the day, if we ever become so unpopular and weak that so countries would benefit from stripping our sovereignty, they won't need a court to do it.

In any case, one must ask oneself the following question: Why do any OTHER countries submit to an international court if it's such a disadvantageous position to be in? I somehow doubt that any court worth debating about would consist entirely of morons.

NOTE: My opponent asked me to state a value or weighting factor? I have no clue what that means, and have said so in the comments section. Since I don't want to hold this debate up, I suggest that my opponent explains what he means in that same comments section, after which I will respond, and he will be able to use that in his response to my argument.
Debate Round No. 2
DebateMaster111

Con

DebateMaster111 forfeited this round.
Levi3o4

Pro

Levi3o4 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Levi3o4 8 years ago
Levi3o4
DebateMaster111, could you please explain what you mean by "a value or a weighing factor"? I don't want to post my response to your argument without providing these as per your request, so would you please clarify? Thanks!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
DebateMaster111Levi3o4Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Both have flawed conduct, but con dropped out first after pro attempted to do a cross examination using the comment section. With it unfinished, and pro having the last word, pro gets the point.