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

The united states ought to join the ICC

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/14/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,364 times Debate No: 6929
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)




I will defer to the Aff/pro for the first speach, they will also have the last.


Resolved, The United States ought to join the ICC. Because I agree with justice, protection of human rights, and the US constitution itself, I strongly affirm the resolution. An international court would promote just actions, protect human rights, offer equality to all, and encourage peace.

In order to offer clarity to the round, I offer the following definitions:
Ought – Used to indicate moral obligation or duty. (American Heritage Dictionary)
Submit – To yield oneself to the will or authority of another. (American Heritage Dictionary)
Jurisdiction – The extent of authority or control. (American Heritage Dictionary)
International Court – A court extending across or transcending national boundaries. (American Heritage Dictionary)
Crimes against Humanity – I define crimes against humanity as offered by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, Crimes , "are particularly odious offences in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority.

My value for this round will be that of Justice. Justice is the quality of being just; equitable, and moral right. Justice applies to this resolution in that courts are meant to do one thing: establish justice in their area of jurisdiction. Justice will be better achieved when crimes against humanity are prosecuted by an international court. If protecting human rights is essential to justice then prosecuting "crimes against humanity" is an obligation for all nations. Every human being should have rights, and thus rights are global. If these rights are global, would it not follow suit that these crimes ought to be prosecuted globally? It would not be just for the United States to rise above other nations and refuse to participate in an international court.

My Criterion is Protecting Human Rights. The aim of the resolution is clearly to protect human rights. If these rights were not worthy of protecting, then why bother prosecuting crimes against them? Only when these rights are fully protected can justice be fully achieved. This brings me to my first contention.

Contention 1: Justice would be more fully achieved were the United States to submit to an international court. The United States does not currently do its duty to protect human rights, and thus, is not as just as it perhaps should be. Consider, for a moment, the events that were taking place at Guantanamo Bay. The government tortured and horribly humiliated the detainees at the facility in the hopes of gaining information. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D., and Jonathan H. Marks, M.A., B.C.L., state, "There is no scientific answer to the question of which interrogation strategy is more effective. For obvious ethical and legal reasons, there is unlikely to be one. At Guantanamo, the fear-and-anxiety approach was often favored. The cruel and degrading measures taken by some, in violation of international human rights law and the laws of war, have become a matter of national shame." (1) A federal judge ruled in early 2005 that these detentions are unconstitutional. How is a country just when it will not even uphold the document that the country is based on? Recall the final thought of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance: "With Liberty and Justice for all." (2) It is, therefore, imperative that the United States uphold justice. These activities at Guantanamo have gone on for years with little or no action. How is this justice? How are human rights protected? The answer is simple: they are not. It is clear that the United States ought to submit to an international court to prosecute these atrocious crimes against humanity to further promote justice. If the U.S. cannot or will not stop the torture at Guantanamo, surely an international court should. To protect human rights, and to promote justice, it is necessary.

Contention 2: Human Rights would be better protected under an international court. There is a major difference between an international court and one that is country-specific – the global authority of the international court. As was stated in my explanation of the choice for my criterion, Protection of Human Rights, human rights are a global issue. Something connects the beings of the human world – our species. Philosophers throughout the ages have declared human rights global. Look no farther than Kant's Cosmopolitanism, Locke's inalienable rights of "Life, Liberty, and Estate,"(3)
or Cromwell's Freedom Rights. Even the Declaration of Independence of the U.S. states that "We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness." (4) Note that it does not say "that all persons who were born in the United States are created equal," but that "all persons are created equal." This certainly shows the global issue of the protection of human rights. Certainly a national court cannot adequately process a global issue. Considering the global issue of crimes against humanity, it seems obvious that the most fair, accurate, and unbiased judgment would come from a conglomerate of nations. It is only just that a global issue be addressed globally. How can it be just that a criminal against humanity in one nation receive several years in a prison, yet another criminal who has committed the same crime in another country be issued the death penalty? It is only just that these issues be addressed nationally, where human rights would be better protected.

As I have shown, an international court would promote justice, protect human rights, and uphold our own constitution.

"Resolved, The US Ought To Join to the ICC"
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate
i agree with the aff definitions.
The resolution implies a moral obligation, in order to judge this round we must look solely at the morality of the action of joining the court. Also, because it implies moral obligation, the aff must prove that the US has a MORAL not just prudent reason to join.
Prudence is defined as: Enlightened Self Interest, not duty. Such an action could conform outwardly with duty, but isnt actually acting out of duty.–Immanuel Kant

Value: Humanity
The core element of humans, each human is seen as his or her own character. People cannot be used as means to an end.
B.we are human before all else, and because we are debating whether or not we should submit to a higher power, we must make sure people are not being used as a means to an end.
C.Affirming cannot uphold humanity because it violates my criterion:

Criterion: Categorical Imperative.
A. Defn.:
According to Kant:
We ought to "act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law"

According to Kant, a maxim is the reason we act, or our motivation. (For example: "we ought to protect life")
So, the categorical imperative states that we should only act in a way that our motivation would be beneficial as a law for all people. (For example: all people ought to protect life)

An action that is in agreement with the categorical imperative is deemed moral, all others, wrong. Furthermore, because it tells us what we ‘ought' to do, it gives us a moral duty to uphold those actions that are found to be in agreement with it.

B. Must look to CI
The main reason we must look only to the categorical imperative to judge this round is because ends based frameworks fail. Take, for example, any theory that looks to what the actions cause to judge morality. You can have all the evidence in the world, but still cannot accurately predict the future.
For example: I'm at a lake, I see a child drowning. Naturally, I act to save the child, and jump in. However, I couldn't see that there was another child under me. I end up landing on that child, and he drowns. Furthermore, he hinders me so that the original child drowns as well. By any consequentialist framework, my action of jumping into the lake was very much wrong. However, the action of jumping in was, in itself, a moral and good thing to do, however unfortunate the outcome.
Using a consequentialist or ends based framework, we cannot know if our action was just until we've already done it. For this reason, we must look to a framework that looks at the motivation behind the action, which I supply.
The purpose of courts is, in the end to punish people. Because the aff is advocating that we submit to a court, I will show through my contentions, that this is wrong.

Contention 1: Punishment violates Humanity
A.Deterrence violates humanity
Deterrence is based on the principle that if we punish someone for doing something, that others will be afraid to do the same thing. In this case, the criminal is being USED to prevent further crimes; this violates the value of humanity because we are using a criminal as a means to an end. Therefore it is wrong.
B.Retributive Justice violates Humanity
The only purpose of retributive justice is to avenge the victim and in many cases to satiate the victims families. This clearly violates humanity because we are using the criminal to make the victim and those closest to them feel better. Again, we are using a person as a means to an end.
C.Restorative Justice violates Humanity
According to the U.S Dept. of Justice's guiding principles of restorative justice: "The First priority is to assist victims", "The second priority is to restore the community, to the degree possible"
Again, we aren't looking to the criminal here, but the victim. We are USING the criminal to assist the victim and to "restore" the community. THIS IS WRONG.
As I have shown, the entire premise of punishment is wrong, and although it may be prudent to holding society together, that does NOT make it moral.
By using people as a means to an end, affirming also violates my criterion.

Contention 2: Affirming is wrong
A.The maxim we are looking to is "we ought to value humanity" (not in the LD sense but in the sense that it has value)
Because my value is people as ends, the best maxim to operate under this value would be "we ought to value humanity" or "we ought not to use people as means to an end"
B.If upheld universally, would bring good.
If everyone were to act on this maxim, there would be no crimes against humanity, and no one would have such pain brought upon them.
C.this constitutes a moral duty
Because this maxim can be upheld universally, it becomes our moral duty to act on it regardless of the actions of others.
D.Morality is objective
The morality of your actions is not affected by the actions of others. Yes, there are people who act wrongly; this does not mean we should act wrongly in return.
Because I have shown punishment is inherently wrong, and we are debating whether or not to submit to a court, which's sole purpose is to punish, it clearly follows that it is wrong, and that we have a moral duty to NOT join the court. Because of this, you must negate.

On to the Aff case:

1.This value is completely undefined
My opponent defines justice as morality, being equitable, doing what is right. So... his claim is that affirming is moral because it upholds morality. THIS DOES NOT WORK!
The purpose of the value is to show how affirming IS moral; the aff value does not do this. The aff says that joining is good because it's good.
Furthermore, how do we know what is moral? We don't. The terrorist's in iraq think blowing up innocent people is moral, we don't. However looking to the aff case, you wouldn't be able to know.
2.Negating better upholds Justice
Look to the Defn., even if it's vague, it says that what is "morally right" is just. Therefore, Cross apply my ENTIRE case which says that submission to any court is immoral.
3.Humanity is a better value
Humanity is very clearly defined, and I have shown how the aff cannot uphold it and how the neg can.

Criterion Debate:
Human Rights
We do not know what human rights are, simply that they are intrinsic to humans. reason to uphold
The aff simply says that we wouldn't want to prosecute crimes against them if they weren't important... yeah... we shouldn't be...
3. Does not provide Moral framework
The aff fails to show how protection of human rights tells us how to act morally, because of this, they DO NOT provide a moral obligation to affirm, and if you look to my Resolutional Analysis, because of this, you cannot affirm.
4.Negating better upholds
Look to my value, humanity is clearly a human right, or at least, is intrinsic to humans. Because courts actually violate this right as well as many others: (right to life, liberty, persuit of property/happiness, all are violated when put in prison for life or killed....) we CANNOT affirm the resolution.
5.Categorical Imperative is superior
First, Cross Apply by B point under my criterion which shows how you cannot know the ends of an action. The aff criterion tells us that things that hurt human rights are bad. But we cannot know if something is going to hurt human rights until we do it, because of this, you cannot look to the aff criterion.
The Categorical imperative shows how morality is defined before the action and provides us with a moral framework as well as a duty. Because of these things you must look to the categorical imperative to judge this round.

I.Cross apply my case again, as well as my 2 point under the value. This shows that justice is actually hurt my submission.
II.On this one, cross apply my 4 point under the criterion debate. Courts violate these rights.

Vote NEG (con)


OK first I'm going to refute my opponent's case, then further my own.

My opponent values Humanity. He values Humans. However, he is not for protecting human rights. I quote: " reason to uphold- The aff simply says that we wouldn't want to prosecute crimes against them if they weren't important... yeah... we shouldn't be..."

What? My opponent values humanity, but doesn't want to protect them by prosecuting crimes against them? This is absurd, AND contradictory. His value flows into my case.

My opponent's criterion is a categorical imperative, spoken by Kant. This reasoning is completely faulty. It basically says we ought to act by "what should be" universal maxims, being applicable in every case. Consider for a moment, a murderer comes into your house. He tells you to tell him where your family is so he can murder them. Do you tell him the truth, just because lying is wrong? OF COURSE NOT. The Categorical Imperative is absurd. His criterion also falls. So, my opponent has no value, and no criterion. His case has nothing to go on. This should be enough to win the debate once I prove my case. You may skip this next part of the debate if you want for sake of time, but I will refute each of his contentions individually for you skeptics out there.

Cont 1:Punishment violates Humanity

This is ridiculous! My opponent says we shouldn't punish crimes against humanity? How are we valuing humanity if we don't protect them? This, again, is contradictory. There must be punishment, or society would be condoning rimes, and devolve into chaos and despair. Contention 1, NEGATED.

Cont 2:Affirming is wrong

Well, this is very vague. In his sub-points he says why negating is "right" but not why affirming is wrong. I will soon show you, again, why affirming is right. I have already shown you why negating is wrong. I have already destroyed his case, and need not waste your time doing so again. So, now on to my case.

He tries to attack my value by saying I don't define it adequately. This definition was taken from Webster's Dictionary. However, he previously said he agrees with my definitions. (Please note, he contradicts himself throughout the case) If he wants to offer a more "adequate" definition, go ahead.

He tries to attack my criterion by saying that it too is undefined. So here we go, some example of human rights are life, liberty, property, the enjoyment of the fruits of our own labor, and the pursuit of happiness. I thought these were well understood, but I guess not. If my opponent does not agree with my criterion, he would be saying that humans ought not be protected. This would be contradictory, so my opponent must agree.

He attempts to attack my Contention 1 with this statement: "Cross apply my case again, as well as my 2 point under the value. This shows that justice is actually hurt my submission." Well, I have already shut down his ENTIRE case, so we can't cross-apply his points. As for the second sentence, what are you saying? It would hurt your submission? Please identify this in your next speech. Contention 1, UPHELD.

He tries to counter my Contention 2 with this: "On this one, cross apply my 4 point under the criterion debate. Courts violate these rights." Again, he can't attack my case with his, since he doesn't have one. As for the courts violate rights, does he have any examples? Absolutely not. He has NO evidence. Contention 2, UPHELD.

So, the Affirmative is standing on a solid case, backed by an agreeable value and criterion. The Negative has fallen completely, having NO structure, and NO evidence.

"Resolved, the United States ought to join the ICC"
Debate Round No. 2


Bnesiba forfeited this round.


Seeing as how my opponent forfeited, I can see none other than an affirmative ballot. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3


First, I would like everyone who is planning to vote on this round to look at the comments, and specifically to my comment. Basically, I was unable to respond on time because I was not notified it was my turn until I had forfeited the round ( I have pictures to prove this). Because of this, I urge you to consider my following arguments.

I will start with the value debate, move to the criterion debate, to contentions and then to voting issues:



Seriously, none of my arguments against his value were touched, because of this alone we MUST look to humanity as the value for this round.

On the definition argument, I'm not arguing that his definition shouldn't be used, but that justice, defined as he defines is cannot judge anything because it simply says that what we are doing is moral is because it's moral, which doesn't actually tell us why it's moral. (look to my argument)

2.) Humanity- Each person is his/her own character, people cannot be used as a means to an end.

As I will prove further on, punishment DOES use people, and therefore, using the value of humanity you can ONLY vote neg.

3.) Even if you look to Justice, you still MUST negate

Look to my 3 point under his criterion which was left untouched, neg better upholds justice.

I will also answer his ad hom attack / claimed contradiction here as well:

This was saying we SHOULDN'T PUNISH THE CRIMES not that we shouldn't look to humanity.


1.) Pull my 2-5 points (dropped) on his criterion, even if you buy his argument, which I will get to shortly, you must look to the categorical imperative simply because: HR(human rights) aff provides no reason to uphold HR, HR doesn't provide a moral framework, negating better upholds HR, and because the categorical imperative it better.

Also, pull across my B point under my criterion; you cannot know if human rights are protected until you've already committed the action, therefore can not know until too late.

2.) Categorical Imperative IS legitimate
In the aff's example, we see a killer coming into your house and asking where your family is.

The aff claims that you should lie. This is wrong. YOU SHOULD TELL THE TRUTH. If everyone were to act in a way that assumed lying was ok, no one would trust anyone, and everyone would assume that you were lying. This would mean that you couldn't possibly promise anything because it wouldn't mean anything.

Also, by justifying lying, you are basing the morality of your actions on the morality of others, you are assuming that the killer wants to kill your family. And somehow that the immorality of his actions will affect your morality. Simply, you cannot know what people are going to do; therefore you CANNOT judge morality by the actions of others, only the actions you commit.

After looking at this, the only case standing (and the only case standing before I said anything) is the neg. he has no value an criterion, and, as I will show, the main argument behind my case still stands. Furthermore, both my opponent's value and criterion stand on the neg (look to dropped value and crit arguments) , and therefore, as long as I can prove that I can uphold my case, you must vote neg.

So, "for the skeptics out there", I will now move to the contentions.


Contention 1)
(humanity == "Each person is his/her own person, people cannot be used as means to an end")

I do not contradict myself, and my opponent is simply articulating fictions. My first contention states that we should act on the maxim that we ought to value humanity (not use people as ends). I then show how courts use people as ends. The actual arguments here are not argued, all forms of "Justice" use people as means to an end, and are therefore immoral.

2.)Punishment is immoral
I'm sure all of you judges understand this, but, the favorability of the outcomes of an action have nothing to do with the immorality of it. (Cross apply my B point under my criterion, we can't actually know the ends until it's too late)

If you look to the very beginning of my last "speech", just after my RA, you will see that I defined the term "Prudent".

"Prudence is defined as: Enlightened Self Interest, not duty. Such an action could conform outwardly with duty, but isnt actually acting out of duty.–Immanuel Kant"

The punishment of criminals MIGHT be prudent, but this does not make it moral.

Contention 2)
1.)This is not vague

This contention simply explains how, through the categorical imperative, that punishment is wrong.

To simplify:
Because we are acting on the maxim "we ought to value humanity", (which, through my B point is shown to be beneficial when universally upheld) using people as means to an end (See contention 1) is shown to be immoral. By showing that it is beneficial when universal, the categorical imperative also gives us a duty to act on that maxim.

AFF case:
Contention 1)
Again, cross apply case (much of which was dropped), basically, justice (moral rightness as defined by the aff), is not upheld by aff because affirming is immoral.

Also, my intended statement was justice is hurt BY submission, it was a mis-type.

Contention 2)
1.)My argument here is very simply the 4 point under the criterion debate in my last speech. This point was completely dropped, and it states that human rights are violated by affirming. 2 reasons:
A)Humanity is an intrinsic right (people shouldn't be used as means to an end), and this is violated by affirming.

B)Human rights as defined by aff are violated. (life liberty persuit of happiness)

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't have much of a life or much liberty spending my life in prison. Furthermore, it clearly makes it very difficult to pursue happiness/property.

Basically, human rights by any definition, are violated by the ICC, therefore, you cannot affirm.


1.)Dropped arguments are extensive enough to judge round
A.) Almost every argument that I made on the value or criterion was simply left untouched. Because of this, the aff value and criterion not only fall, but flow to the neg. you can ONLY look to the neg value and criterion to judge the round.

B.) My contentions were untouched.
His best argument against my contentions was simply a misunderstanding of my main argument. He applies the argument to practically everything I said, yet, I do not contradict myself simply because of my definition of humanity, which my opponent apparently failed to read.

2.)Value Debate
We must look to humanity simply because justice has no actual definition (using aff definition). It makes the unwarranted claim that affirming is moral because it's moral.

3.)Criterion Debate
We must look to the categorical imperative to judge this round. This is because the affirmative criterion fails to provide a moral framework (doesn't tell us right from wrong), and because the affirmative violates their own criterion.

4.)Resolutional Analysis
Look to the very top of my case. Read the RA. The affirmative does not provide a moral obligation which, using his definitions, he must in order to even be considered for the ballot. I however, even without the burden, do provide a moral obligation not to join, because of this you must negate.

Because my RA was untouched, and because humanity and the categorical imperative have been shown to be superior, you must negate the resolution: the US should join the ICC.


First, I will address how my opponent attempts to defend his case, then move on to my own, and to my opponent's "voting issues."

"This was saying we SHOULDN'T PUNISH THE CRIMES not that we shouldn't look to humanity."
This statement occurred when my opponent tried to defend his core value. I must implore again, why shouldn't we punish crimes? Sure, we have rights, but don't we need punishment when we commit crimes? Isn't that justice? His value here falls.

His only defense of his criterion is to cross apply his arguments in defense of his criterion. He does not actually address what I have said, but only tries to reinforce it with his arguments. Since I have already taken out his entire argument, (Which I will do again shortly. If you already believe that I have taken out his arguments, you may disregard the following) he has no defense. His criterion here falls.

He starts to defend this by saying that punishing people is immoral. WHAT? I have already addressed this: PUNISHMENT IS NECESSARY, IT IS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE JUSTICE.
He also defends this by saying that we cannot use people as a means to an end. I actually agree. He does not actually show why affirming uses people as the means. If you affirm, you actually UPHOLD his contention 1. It flows into the affirmative case.

He, again, defends this by saying that punishment is immoral. I addressed this already. His contention 2 falls.

So, his entire case has fallen, value and criterion included. I will now uphold my own case.

He tries to attack this by saying that affirming is immoral. He does NOT actually address anything that I said, simply that it is immoral. Warrant please? I have already said how punishment is just, and necessary. Contention 1: Upheld.

He only attacks this with his criterion. (Which has already fallen) Humans are not means to an end, yes, we get it now. He does not attack what I said, again. Contention 2: Upheld.

He leaves several thoughts for the voters. He says that I dropped his case. If you would be so kind as to read my previous arguments in the previous rounds, you will see that this is not the case. He only does not want to adress my attacks.

He also claims that I haven't touched his "RA". This, AGAIN, is not the case. I HAVE shown why affirming is moral.

In the end of his argument, he says that you should vote for him because:
(a) "my RA was untouched"
(b)"because humanity and the categorical imperative have been shown to be superior"

I just addressed the "RA," and if you read my arguments, you would also find that I addressed his categorical imperative. So now, according to my opponent, you are left with no reasons to vote for him. So, I will tell you why the affirmative has won this debate.

First, the affirmative's value and criterion have been upheld throughout the debate.

Second, my opponent's arguments have been neutralized every time.

Last, the affirmative provides for justice, human rights, and moral rightness. For all of these reasons, I stand in absolute affirmation of the resolution. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Bnesiba 8 years ago
i respect peoples opinions, and am not going to argue with votes, but it would be greatly benificial if everyone who voted would provide a RFD (reason for decision, of course, if you don't do LD you probably shouldnt be voting anyway....)

thanks. =)
Posted by Bnesiba 8 years ago
i'm busy alot, so i wait for the e-mail which usually (in every other case) shows up when the other guy posts his arguments.

in this case, i got the "your turn to debate" and the "your time is up" ones at the same time, and therfore did not have time to respond. this is why i would like to have my latest arguments looked at dispite the missed round.
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
it tells you how long you have to post. you don't have to wait for the e-mail ;)
Posted by Bnesiba 8 years ago
i would like to apologize for my failure to post my argument... i literally just got the e-mail saying it was my turn to debate. (i was at school till 3:30) <- link to proof

Because of this, i would like to ask that rougeagent allow me to rebut his points without making new ones in this speech.

thank you.
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
cool, lets have a fun debate!
Posted by Bnesiba 8 years ago
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
so are we good?
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
International Criminal Court by the way
Posted by Bnesiba 8 years ago
International Criminal Court, sry
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
is it assumed we are going by ld rules? if this is the case, i will accept the debate.
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