Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ICC: Withdrawal of French Declaration to Rome Statute

When France ratified the Rome Statute in 2000, it entered a declaration that it did "not accept the jurisdiction of the Court with respect to the category of crimes referred to in article 8 when a crime is alleged to have been committed by its nationals or on its territory." Article 124 of the Statute permitted such declarations but sunsetted their effect at seven years after the Statute's entry into force. France's declaration, therefore, was due to expire on July 1, 2009. Instead of letting it run its course, though, France withdrew the declaration this summer, with a year still to go. France's action leaves Colombia as the only State Party with an active Article 124 declaration. Why did France bother to withdraw its declaration with only months remaining? Clearly it thought there was advantage in doing so. Perhaps it was an easy way to pay some heed to pro-ICC advocates in France and elsewhere. Perhaps it is a signal to the Court itself that France continues to support the institution. Perhaps it was done to indicate that France would not seek to extend Article 124's force at the Rome Statute review conference next year. Those who know what France's intent was are encouraged to contact the editor.