Bilateral Agreements between the United States and States Parties to the Rome Statute: Are They Compatible with the Object and Purpose of the Statute?
The United States has entered into a fairly large number of bilateral agreements with states parties to the Rome Statute in order to prevent the exposure of US nationals to the jurisdiction of the ICC. Article 98 of the Rome Statute allows for such agreements and provides that the Court should yield to obligations which emerge from those agreements. The author, however, argues that the current scope of these agreements, covering all US nationals, is too wide. They should rather take as a point of departure the status of forces agreements, which envisage primary jurisdiction for the sending state, in case of military service personnel and personnel of peacekeeping operations. In their present form, the bilateral agreements compel states parties to act in contravention of the object and purpose of the Statute.
Key Words: bilateral agreements; complementarity principle; International Criminal Court; status-of-forces agreements; United States.
1 Professor in International Criminal Law at the University of Amsterdam. I am grateful to my colleagues, Professor Terry Gill and Menno Dolman, LLM, for their valuable comments on an earlier draft.