The United States (US) historically has been and continues to be an an ardent supporter of international criminal justice, having played critical roles in the establishment and operations of the United Nations (UN) War Crimes Commission, the World War II tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo, and the modern UN ad hoc and hybrid international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Lebanon and others. The International Criminal Court (ICC), the only permanent international criminal tribunal with a mandate to investigate and prosecute the international atrocity crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression, is the cornerstone of the system of international criminal justice.
At present 123 nations have ratified the Rome Statute and are members of the ICC Assembly of States Parties. While the United States played a central role in the establishment of the Rome Statute that created the ICC, the United States is not a State Party. Building upon positive developments at the end of the George W. Bush administration, the US-ICC relationship significantly progressed during the Barack Obama administration, with the US providing varied and important support to the Court to the fullest extent allowed under existing US law. However, the policies of the Donald Trump administration highlighted a much more complicated relationship between the Untied States and the ICC.
The following timeline chronicles the US role in international criminal justice, the creation of the ICC, and the evolution of US-ICC relations.