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

The united states ought to submit to the jurisdiction of the ICC

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,490 times Debate No: 7232
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (3)




(LD style)
I Affirm the resolution

By omitting from signing the ICC into affect the US does nothing to prevent jurisdiction over its nationals because the Rome Statute extends jurisdiction into non party states if the crime was committed by an individual of a signatory nation, against a signatory nation, or against a party temporarily invoking article 12. Moreover if the crime was committed on another nations soil then that nation, even if the perpetrator and the victims were all US nationals, can make a claim on the ICC. Dr Bahman Naraghi furthers

No only does it fail to do what it purportedly intend to do, that is to protect American service personnel from being prosecuted at the ICC, it also inhibits and impedes national security interests and foreign policy. "The American Sevicemembers Protection act can do nothing to cure some of the fundamental defects in the Rome Treaty. However what the ASPA does do is interfere with the US's ability to assist in the identification, apprehension, detention and trial of persons accused of committing violations of international and human rights laws.

Furthermore not joining the ICC disallows the United States the ability to use the ICC as a tool in its favor. As a signatory nation, the US could make claims to the ICC and allow the ICC to prosecute when it cant. This means the negative has the burden to show why we should not use the ICC as a tool in our arsenal to prevent future abuses. Remember we don't have to use the ICC though.

My Value for the round is governmental legitimacy. This is the most suitable value for a few reasons
1. The resolution has the US as an actor. The US itself is a government and thus to evaluate the actions of the US we must look to it on the level of what a government should do.
2. A government only has a moral obligation to itself because a state only has a limited capability and resources to act. We can not give aid to every problem in the world. Moreover such an obligation would be harmful to the state itself as a military overstretch and economic depression would result from action on all of the worlds problems and thus would harm the state itself.
3. A government is only obligated to its citizens as only its citizens are bound by an agreement to that government. All a government is, is a set of rules determining obligations of the government and thus only constituents under those rules can legitimately claim an obligation of the state. This means that a Russian would not fall under United States laws or jurisdiction and the US is thus not obligated to act under its own defining rules.

A states obligations are thus only to itself and its consistency. The criterion for legitimacy is maintaining a states power. This serves as the best criterion for a few reasons.
1. Maintaining or raising the power of the state allows the state to enact policies it would not otherwise be able to enact. For example, with support and proper funding the United States could increase the effectiveness of its overseas military intervention or other actions that could potentially increase the security of the nation.
2. Increasing the states power allows the state to internally regulate better as the state has a greater ability to use its resources to secure internal goals.
3. Raising a states power leads to increased leverage in the international community to get negotiations favorable to the citizens of ones state meaning a greater ability to uphold any obligations.

My thesis is that joining the ICC increases the United States power.

Contention one: Joining the ICC allows the United States power in the negotiation process.

The United States as a major power has the ability to influence the structure of the ICC and how the ICC should function. With the US involvement in the PrepCom sessions to amend the rules and procedures, the ICC gave a major function in defining the institution to the United States. Opposition to the court would remove the United States ability to negotiate elements in the ICC. Bruce Broomhall furthers

PrepCom negotiations offer the United States an opportunity to introduce clarity, safeguards, and some restrictions to the courts power. Opposition or withdrawal would eliminate the United States' ability to take advantage of this, not just with respect to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Elements of crime but also with respect to other instruments yet to be negotiated, including the crime of aggression.

The impact of this is that the United States maintains some degree of control over the organization of the courts and can thus gain a favorable outcome in accordance with the actual structure of the court whereas complete withdrawal from the procedures gives the United States no control over the organization and functionality of the court. The US should thus be more inclined to join the ICC to secure a favorable outcome for the United States.

Moreover by abstaining from the negotiation process the US scuttles its chances for gaining favorable amendments to the Rome Statute and by extension the ICC. Broomhall 2 continues

Withdrawal would reduce the U.S. leverage in the eventual Assembly of State Parties to prevent adverse amendment of text introduced in its favor. Opposition would multiply this effect, making adverse revision by the Assembly more likely. It would also contribute to a general perception that the United States was in some way opposed to the rule of law or the accountability for the worst violations of human rights. Further, the value of opposing the court must be weighed against it having the desired effect (of preventing entry into force). In fact the process is to far advanced for the United States to retard it seriously, and the costs of withdrawal are far too great for the United States to bear without serious reason to believe it could accomplish something thereby. The best conclusion is the United States has gained far too much both during and after Rome to step out of the process.

The implications are that the United States loses the ability to retain favorable advantages it already maintains in the ICC such as the Security Council check that is currently in place. Moreover it would lose any ability to contest decisions made by such a court if it were to remove itself as a non signatory nation.

Contention 2 Future crimes against humanity will only be able to be punished through the ICC

The United States has a world image as the world police, whether that image be bad or good, the US would be a hypocrite to allow a major crime against humanity to go by unpunished as the US arbitrarily chooses which conflicts to resolve. Moreover, the United States is viewed as a more moral actor when it successfully arbitrates conflicts between potentially genocidal, murderous or otherwise evil regimes. By removing itself from this position it will suffer from the political criticism of such double standards. Thus any attempt to undermine the courts legitimacy represents a major obstacle to US power which means to increase power the US should no longer hold a double standard. Moreover crimes against humanity in and of themselves represent a security threat to the United States. Most of those who sanction crimes against humanity are also the ones who pose a threat to the United States. For example Korea's Kim Jung Ill or Milosovich or Saddam Hussain, all pose or posed major threats to United States Broomhall 3 concludes

The most compelling reason for rejecting an all or nothing approach to a U.S. fix is the near inevitability of US support for the ICC. For some State Department planners, eventual US support or at least eventual US ability to avail itself of the court must have a certain appeal. When the next Kosovo, East Timor, Rwanda, or Sierra Leone erupts on the international stage, will the US refuse to support accountability merely because the ICC is the only viable means of attaining it?


Alright, thank you for starting this debate. I will first post my arguments, and then move on to refute my opponent's.

Resolved: �€œThe United States ought to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court designed to prosecute crimes against humanity.�€� As I will show you, the idea of an international court would not be beneficial to the United States. Because the United States would be better off without submitting to the jurisdiction of an international court, I must negate.

As a quick observation before I enter my case: The US has a moral obligation to its citizens first, and then the world. The US has a contract with its citizens. The US has agreed to protect and serve the citizens. Because the US has such a contract, the US has a moral obligation to protect and serve its citizens. We don't have a contract with the rest of the world saying we will serve them and protect them. Therefore, the citizens of the US come first.

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 GIVE IN: 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)

My value for this round will be that of justice. Justice is the quality of being just; equitable, and moral right. The ultimate result of any action taken by the US should uphold justice, as it is what we strive for.

My value criterion will be upholding a moral obligation to our citizens. This is just because a country must first establish rights for its own citizens, before trying to help others. This brings me to my first contention.

Contention 1: US Citizens will lose rights if we adhere to an international court.
The ICC does not try its defendants by a trial by jury. Instead, the trial is done in front of a panel of three judges. If a US citizen were to be tried under the ICC, he/she would lose basic fundamental rights given to them by the government. This is unconstitutional, and hypocritical. This hypocrisy is unjust, and does not uphold our moral obligation. Therefore, the US government has a moral obligation not to join, since losing the citizens rights is not protecting the citizen.
US citizens also have a right to a public and speedy trial. The ICC takes a horrendously long time to actually try those accused. In fact, the standard time leading to a hearing is 5 years. The US Constitution grants the citizens the right to a fair and speedy trial. Again, this would be hypocritical, and unconstitutional.

Contention 2: Submitting to the ICC Compromises National Security
A. As noted by Senior Policy Analyst Jack Spencer, "one of the key reasons that the United States rightfully declined to become state party to the ICC was because of harassment by international anti-American activists continually making accusations against the US in the court." (2003) Spencer goes on the say that the ICC "represents an unacceptable legal bureaucracy that invites political manipulation." (2004)" The Problem With any court such as the ICC is it is an unlimited outlet for abuse. It has no sufficient checks and is completely self-determinant. In an age where our enemies go to any ends to hurt us who is to say that our enemies will not manipulate this court to their own ends.

B. According to the American Policy Center, "Unlike any other treaty in history, the International Criminal Court ignores national laws. The ICC defines as a war crime, any attack by our soldiers with knowledge that collateral deaths or injuries "to civilians or damage to civilian objects or damage to the natural environment" may occur. In other words, you can have a war, but don't break anything, hurt any civilians, or the environment. It is physically impossible for the military to comply with those restrictions and still achieve its mission to protect our National Security." The First Purpose of any government is protecting itself and its citizens. The ICC places us in a situation where we have almost no way to defend ourselves. We are currently engaged in a war not against countries, that may also submit but against organizations that present a much larger threat.

As I have shown, an international court would not fare well for the United States. We must uphold justice, protect our citizen�€™s rights, protect our borders, and adhere to our constitution. Because an international court in unconstitutional, I stand in absolute negation of today�€™s resolution. I will now refute my opponent�€™s case.

My opponent values governmental legitimacy. While this is valid, it is not in fact upheld through the affirmative case. Answer me this: How is a government legitimate if it fails to uphold the very document that it was based on? How is it legitimate if it fails to protect its own borders?

His criterion is maintaining a states power. Please see my previous attack, and apply it also to his criterion. How would we be furthering our power?

His contention 1 is his criterion, saying how the ICC would further his criterion. Please again see my previous attacks.

He says future CAH will only be able to be punished through the ICC. How is that? Why cannot we punish crimes against humanity through our own court system? What about the ATCA?

For these reasons, I can only negate the resolution. The ICC would simply weaken the United States. I urge a negative ballot. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate. Im so glad i get to debate this topic against

First, we will look at my case and then my opponents.

My opponent made a huge mistake last round by not addressing the very top of the affirmative because it explicitly states that the ICC will have jurisdiction whether we submit or not. Donald Rumsfeld for example has an indict in the court right now. the warrant for this argument is that the Rome Statute allows an extension of jurisdiction if the crime was committed by an individual of a signatory nation, against a signatory nation, or against a party temporarily invoking article 12. This means that the entire negative case is nonunique (the impact happens in both worlds - not submitting does not change the fact that US citizens will lose rights to an international court. Thus if submitting provides a benefit over non submission then i win this round).

His only argument attacking my value is a question. Since it is not an attack as to why it should not be the value, my value is the value for the round. The attacks are (with answers below)
1. The US is not upholding the constitution
a. The US constitution is violated even if we dont submit
b. The constitution has been violated in the past for good things (Lincoln for example suspended Habeas Corpus to keep the Union in tact) and thus we must look to who has a better outcome.
c. By affirming we have some power over the court to include constitutional rights and thus they would not be violated (Broomhall 1)
d. We can amend the constitution to allow ICC jurisdiction.

2. It does not protect its own boarders
a. The ICC still has jurisdiction over the negative case so any argument talking about how the ICC is bad inherently applys to the negative too.
b. Again I maintain some power over the ICC so the affirmative can change some policies to make it more beneficial to the US.

My criterion is not attacked as a weighing mechanism so extend it. The reason you prefer it is because it is the way a state upholds its obligations. Look specifically at the justifications i gave in my first speech. Thus my criterion is the way to achieve his.

Contention 1
Ok this argument is mishandled really really badly. The argument that Broomhall 1 espouses is that the US has a major part in determining the functions of the ICC through PrepCom Negotiations so there is the ability to change certain structures. This means in a world where both the AFF and the NEG have an ICC with the jurisdiction over the US, the AFF provides a mechanism in which the US can make the policies beneficial to American's while the NEG can do nothing to change ICC policy. In fact the NEG would make it more likely for amendments to the Rome Statute that are NOT beneficial to Americans (like the security council check on the ICC which currently allows the security council to suspend a trial for 12 months and they can re-suspend it after the 12 months is over).

There are two impacts
1. The affirmative provides recourse in the ICC and has a net increase in power over the negative world
2. The affirmative has the ability to change parts of the Rome Statute to make it more benificial for Americans and solve for some of the problems listed in the negative case. This means that on this level the negative does not matter because i solve for the problems even if jurisdiction did not extend into the US (which it does).

Contention two had two separate arguments in it. My opponent only addressed the second. The first was in the Sewel card which said that double standards are created through the ICC and that these double standards prevent the United States from taking important actions in the international community. thus there is an overall decrease in maintaining states power which is the criterion for the round. Moreover this means that even if the first contention of the affirmative is flawed and the analysis at the top about the extension of jurisdiction is flawed, I still have an impact i can weigh against the NC (NEG CASE). This impact is bigger than the one in the negative because this means that the US can not achieve its important goals in the world like it will not have help in Afghanistan (or at least will fave heavier opposition). This means that there is actually a decrease in states power if it does not join the ICC. This is another place i win the round EVEN IF I DONT ATTACK MY OPPONENTS CASE BECAUSE IT IS A BIGGER IMPACT THAN ANY IMPACTS MY OPPONENT CAN GARNER.

The second part of contention 2 says the only multilateral way to prosecute CaH is through the ICC because (as stated in Broomhall 3) the international community will only do it through the ICC because it currently has the structure to prosecute and is the established international mechanism. Thus in order to have an internationally recognized trial of a war criminal then there must be submission to the ICC. Even if my opponent wins this point, it does not matter because of the other two parts of my case.

now on to the NC
remember I phrased the topic to the ICC so i narrowed the ground to the ICC specifically. Even so i would argue that his case is based on the ICC too so there is no point arguing that the resolution is talking about the idea of an international court.

For the value i would argue that since the resolution is questioning the obligation of an actor we must evaluate that actor in terms of its purpose so governmental legitimacy. Moreover there are differing interpretations of justice so there is no way to no what his advocacy is (there is no set definition of what each is due)

Criterion - again i provide the mechanism for how to reach it - his criterion is as vague as his value because we have no way to know what to do to reach it. Moreover i would argue that he never gives a reason why upholding the obligations gives each their due. I may have a contractual obligation to kill someone but that does not mean that killing someone is just. Moreover there is no necessary connection for example i may have an obligation to do my homework but doing my homework does not necessarily mean that i am giving someone their due.

Contention one - citizens lose rights in the ICC
1. The United States has the power of the security council check meaning the US can delay prosecution for a year at a time. Since this is true, our citizens our protected.
2. Broomhall 1 shows that we can change the ICC so that it is more beneficial to our interests meaning we can add elements of a check on the ICC
3. All of this argument is based on the constitution so my arguments under my value about the constitutions apply
4. The ICC extends jurisdiction into the US no matter what, even if we dont submit these things happen so my opponent is not giving a reason why we should not submit.
5. Even if he wins this argument the amount of American's prosecuted will remain low (very few people are tried at the ICC, I think there have only been 12) so my second contention outweighs because it has to do with all our interests globally not just 12 citizens.

Contention 2 - Compromises security -
First some arguments that apply to both
1. The ICC functions for the most heinous offenses, look at the people who have been tried. This shows that there is no real threat to Americans
2. The US is still under its jurisdiction no matter what
3. The resolution is specific to CAH - there is a separate category for war crimes so there is a difference. Since his contention talks about war crimes it is not applicable to the resolution.

Sub point A
1. This is not happening to any nations in the status quo - no political prosecutions have been made
2. There are checks such as the pretrial chamber that make sure there is sufficient evidence for a case

Sub Point B
1. There are nations in the ICC that are helping in Iraq and Afghanistan and those nations are not being prosecuted which means that his claim is empirically untrue.


I apologize, I will not be able to post for this round. My computer is still giving me issues and I have but a short time on the library computer here. I should be able to do next round. Again, sorry for the inconvenience.
Debate Round No. 2


For the sake of fairness in this round, i will only reiterate the major points. Remember that my opponent must respond to my arguments from the previous round to win this debate.

Here is how the round breaks down and i win the round.
First, the top of the affirmative proves that the negative does not solve the problem of the ICC jurisdiction, the ICC will still prosecute US citizens. The implications of this argument are
1. The negative is making claims about how the ICC is bad exist in both the affirmative and negative world. For example my opponent argued the ICC will be harmful to national security but this argument i made means that the national security will be harmed even if we dont submit to the jurisdiction of the ICC.
2. All I have to do to win is provide a net benifit since my opponents case is non-unique

So then the next thing to look to in the round is the value structure - remember mine is not attacked in the sense of usage as a wieghing mechanism for determining the winner of this debate. So the way a judge should evaluate this round is through who increases power the most. Here is how i do that.
1. Broomhall 1 under the first contention shows that we have some power over the function of the ICC while the negative has none. This is the first benifit in terms of power. This argument also means that we can make legislation that changes the ICC to have a better implication for US. This has happened in the past with legislation that enacted a security council check on the tirals.
2. Broomhall 2 says that negating means that the ICC is more likely to remove benificial parts of the ICC that are already in place like the security council check.
3. The second contention shows the ICC is the only way to decrease CaH because it is seen as the only legitimate method to prosecute crimes against humanity since the international community is only likely to use the ICC as the way to prosecute. My opponents alternatives are unlikely to be used by the international community because it sees the ICC as its option to prosecute.

The only possible ways you could vote con are
1. Citizens lose rights if we adhere to the ICC
2. Compromises national security

Now both issues are taken out by the analysis at the top of my case because my opponent only argues the ICC will do this if it has jurisdiction, which it currently does. Now let us for a second assume that this was not the case. I still win the round for a few reasons
1. My voting issues have a larger comparitive impact since the US can potentially solve the problems of the ICC and also the US can become involved in prosecuting international crooks. So even if he wins that his arguments happen, he does not win the round.

2. His arguments will still not come through all the other arguments i make on his case, he has to win all the arguments i put on his contention to get any offense at all.

For these reasons i urge you to vote for the affirmative.


rougeagent21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
My bad, my computer freaked out on me.
Posted by dan1 7 years ago
How did con win, he forfeited the last round.
Posted by nickoboy1992 7 years ago
Posted by Mickeyrocks 7 years ago
You do LD, Nicko, don't you?
Posted by nickoboy1992 7 years ago
can someone post an RFD here...

I wanna know why im losing...
Posted by Bnesiba 7 years ago
Neither of you have brought up "ought" so that definition doesnt matter. I'm only going to vote on what i see... so if noone tells me that ought is important, it's not.

I just wish more people would actually use philosophy in LD more... (and yes, i realize that most "pragmatic" cases use util)

No reason to get angry...
you don't give us any way to judge things. in order to provide a framework for morality, you must have some way to tell if something is moral other than its morality. (you'd need to have a framework for morality to tell something's morality, so without a framework you have circular logic)

also, nicko is saying that maintaining states power (his criterion) leads to legitimacy in the government, and that is why it's good.

you say acting morally is good because it is moral.
Posted by nickoboy1992 7 years ago
no my argument is something that raises power is legitimate and the actions taken raise power therefore they are legitimate. there is no reference to their legitimacy in the value structure.

@Bnesiba - The resolution questions ought which can be defined by preferable action, im therefore meeting the terms of the debate. Moreover, if you really want to look at it in terms of philosophy, my case is util framework.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
THAT IS ALL YOU CAN DO! THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO JUDGE SOMETHING! This is a value debate. We are trying to show why something upholds our value. For me to agree with something, it has to be just. THERE IS NO OTHER METHOD IN THIS DEBATE. Look at my opponent's argument:

He values governmental legitimacy.
All of his contentions try to uphold governmental legitimacy.
Because he believes that they are legitimate.
Posted by Bnesiba 7 years ago
I've found that things like the social contract, utilitarianism, Kant's catigorical imperative, and similar philosophies actually work ok if you spend some time explaining how they work.

Also, even if you claim you don't you likely use some brand of utilitarianism to judge morals. Most people's opinion about morals does actually coincide with a moral framework.

Also, you would admit that the decisions you make are not always moral as well. So, even if you do not act on a moral framework, i expect you judge morals through one.

@ rougeagent
Not to be mean or anything, but i actually laughed when i read your response...

"Forfeiting our citizens rights is not moral or just==>We cannot do it, because it is not moral or just. That is logic, not circular reasoning."

actually, that's the definition of circular logic... It's good because it gives us good. You judge morality by the morality of the action. (thereby not actually judging anything)
Posted by nickoboy1992 7 years ago
Bnesiba - I love philosophy too, the problem is that with LD (especially on the circuit) the only philosophy used is in the framework or if you choose to run a more critical case. The problem is the critical cases can easily be taken out at the impact level and there must be a bunch of jumps in the logic to reach the conclusion. Moreover, the debates become muddled (My AC i ran at Emory was so confusing that i had to kick it in over half the rounds). So even though i would love to argue philosophy, this topic is more about real world impacts and thus there must be a pragmatic framework. I dont go around making my decisions based on any complicated moral philosophy but rather on more real world things. Therefore the aff framework is a more accurate evaluation of what actually is. Thus this creates not only a more educational debate but also one that is more fair.
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