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  • Issue Brief posted December 11, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves U.S. Refusal to Ratify Rome Statute Vindicated by ICC Afghanistan Report

    The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) for the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently released its annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities, which updates the status of its examination of alleged crimes committed in Afghanistan and other situations to determine whether a full investigation is warranted. Unlike previous reports, which broadly identified…

  • Backgrounder posted October 1, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, James M. Roberts Why the U.S. Should Oppose the Creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court

    The idea that “grand corruption” by world leaders and powerful individuals able to shield themselves from domestic accountability should be considered a crime against humanity has percolated for years among anti-corruption advocates and international law experts. As these advocates argue, the destructive impact of grand corruption, which they argue contributes to extreme…

  • Commentary posted September 29, 2014 by Steven Groves, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Obama Says No to Landmines

    On March 6, 2014, America’s highest-ranking military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, called anti-personnel landmines (APLs) “an important tool in the arsenal of the armed forces of the United States.” Yesterday, President Obama banned the armed forces from using them. Why? To comply with a treaty — the Ottawa Convention — that the…

  • Backgrounder posted June 26, 2014 by Steven Groves Accession to Convention on the Law of the Sea Unnecessary to Advance Arctic Interests

    Much has been said in recent years about a “race” or “scramble” to secure resources in the Arctic Ocean as polar ice recedes, inevitably leading to conflict in the region. But reality paints a very different picture. Over the past decades, Arctic nations have worked together to advance their shared goals for the region, and relations among the United States and other…

  • Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, James Phillips Palestinian Intent to Accede to 15 Treaties and U.S. Response

    President Mahmoud Abbas announced on April 1 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will seek to join 15 international conventions and treaties. This is a new facet of the existing Palestinian policy of seeking international recognition by other governments and membership in international organizations to bolster claims of statehood absent a negotiated peace treaty with…

  • Backgrounder posted April 24, 2014 by Steven Groves, Dean Cheng A National Strategy for the South China Sea

    On December 5, a Chinese warship nearly collided with the USS Cowpens, a guided-missile cruiser operating lawfully in the South China Sea (SCS). This was only the most recent incident highlighting the unsustainable situation in the SCS. In a throwback to the time of John Selden’s Mare Clausum,[1] China has claimed sovereign rights to the entirety of the SCS within a…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014 by Steven Groves, Brett D. Schaefer Human Rights Committee’s Review of U.S. Record: Things to Watch For

    On March 13–14, a U.S. delegation will defend America’s human rights record before the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the treaty body that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The delegation should expect harsh criticism from the HRC, whose members regularly accuse America of committing gross violations of human rights.…

  • Commentary posted February 11, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The U.N. Preaches to the Vatican

    The international “smart set” regularly chastises the United States for not ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). One need only look to a recent report by the CRC’s treaty committee for full justification of U.S. reticence. Human-rights “experts” on U.N. treaty bodies like the Committee on the Rights of the Child often take liberties with…

  • Commentary posted January 20, 2014 by Steven Groves The U.S. Doesn't Need the U.N.'s Disability Treaty

    Backers of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities received a major blow last month when Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top GOP member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, announced he would not support ratification. And that's good because ratification of the CRPD will not benefit Americans with disabilities. The United States…

  • Commentary posted November 21, 2013 by Steven Groves The Shameful Selling of the Disabilities Treaty

    Perhaps the American people have come to expect less than straight talk from the White House. But blowing smoke that misleads Americans with disabilities -- including U.S. veterans badly wounded in combat -- crosses a red line even by today's standards. That is precisely what the White House and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are doing in their…

  • Backgrounder posted November 15, 2013 by Steven Groves U.S. National Human Rights Institution: A Bad Idea

    For several years elements of the international human rights community have advocated that the United States should establish a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) to promote and monitor implementation of international human rights treaties, norms, and standards in the United States. However, creating a NHRI is a bad idea. Human rights activists would use a NHRI to…

  • Issue Brief posted September 11, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves Syria Policy Should Be Driven by U.S. Interests, Not the U.N.

    There are good reasons why Americans, under the current circumstances, should question a military intervention in Syria.[1] But President Obama has muddied the waters further by giving as much weight to international law as he did to U.S. interests in presenting his case for military intervention, frequently expressing the need to enforce an “international norm”…

  • Play Movie Does Obama Need Authorization to Strike Syria? Groves on CNN Video Recorded on September 8, 2013 Does Obama Need Authorization to Strike Syria? Groves on CNN

    Senior Research Fellow Steve Groves discusses whether President Obama needs Congressional authorization to strike Syria on CNN's 'Global Public Square.'…

  • Backgrounder posted June 24, 2013 by Steven Groves Ratifying the Disabilities Convention Will Not Help Americans with Disabilities at Home or Abroad

    The United States should ratify a treaty only if it advances its interests. In the context of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),[1] U.S. interests may be characterized in both domestic and international terms: Would ratifying the CRPD benefit the lives of Americans with disabilities living in the United States? Would ratifying the CRPD…

  • Issue Brief posted May 16, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves U.N. Human Rights Experts: More Transparency and Accountability Required

    Recent statements by United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Richard Falk rekindled a debate over how such experts should be held accountable when their behavior violates the conduct expected of them. Moreover, the scrutiny elicited by Falk’s statements has exposed the fact that funding for special procedures deserves more transparency, especially regarding…