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Presidential candidates diverge on U.S. joining war crimes court
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper), January 2, 2008
Posted: January 5th, 2008

The International Criminal Court isn't discussed much in the presidential campaign, but few issues are more revealing of a candidate's perspective on the United States' legal and political relations with the rest of the world. The court was established in 2002 to deal with cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Headquartered in the Dutch city of The Hague, it was conceived as a permanent successor to the Nuremberg tribunals formed to try Nazi leaders after World War II. It now has 105 members, including virtually all current U.S. allies, but not the United States itself. President Bush has attacked the court relentlessly, saying it could subject Americans to politically motivated prosecutions abroad. He has renounced the 1998 treaty that created the court, pressed other nations to disregard it, and signed legislation - nicknamed the "Hague Invasion Act" by critics - authorizing military action to free any citizen of the United States or an allied nation held for trial by the court. The presidential candidates ... took differing positions in the only congressional vote on the issue, the 2002 legislation allowing military action to free prisoners at The Hague. Clinton and McCain voted for the bill, as did then-Sen. John Edwards, who now favors U.S. membership in the court. Three other Democrats, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Sens. Joseph Biden and Chris Dodd, voted against the measure. International law scholars say the candidates' positions are illuminating because the disagreements over the court represent some of the most critical foreign-policy questions in the post-Cold War world - U.S. autonomy and its limits, the role of international law and the multinational bodies that enforce it, and the balance between power and accountability. "The court can be seen as a bellwether of their approach to the rule of law and international institutions," said Michael Scharf, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University.

Note: Do you think the current administration might have something to fear here?

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