Paris 1919 and Rome 1998: Different Treaties, Different Presidents, Different Senates, and the Same Dilemma

Author:Harry M. Rhea
Position:Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. B.A., Rutgers University; M.S., Saint Joseph?s University.
Pages:411-429
Paris 1919 and Rome 1998:
Different Treaties, Different Presidents, Different
Senates, and the Same Dilemma
Harry M. Rhea*
I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................ 411
II. POSITIONS OF DELEGATIONS.................................................................. 413
A. Paris 1919 ......................................................................................... 413
B. Rome 1998 ........................................................................................ 418
III. POSITIONS OF PRESIDENTS ................................................................... 421
A. Woodrow Wilson ............................................................................... 421
B. Bill Clinton ....................................................................................... 423
IV. POSITIONS OF SENATES......................................................................... 425
I. INTRODUCTION
At the conclusion of the First World War, representatives of European
states gathere d in Paris to negotiate the Treaty of Peace between Germany
and the Allied and Associated Powers (―Treaty of Peace‖).
1
At the
negotiations, much debate ensued at the Conference on the Preliminaries of
Peace (―Paris Peace Conference‖) between the United States and the Allied
States.
2
The debates focused on several issues, including the cre ation of the
League of Nations and establishing an international criminal court to
prosecute Germany‘s former Kaiser, Wilhelm II, for his role in initiating the
War.
3
* Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. B.A.,
Rutgers University; M.S., Saint Joseph‘s University; PhD Candidate at the Irish Centre for
Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway. The author thanks T ara Ronda for her
editing and comments.
1
Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany, June 28, 1919, 3
Malloy 3329.
2
See Minutes of Meetings of the Commission of the Authors of the War and on the Enforcement
of Penalties, Frank L. Po lk Papers (on file with Yale University Library). See also James Brown
Scott, The Trial of the Kaiser, in WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT PARIS (Col. E. M. House & Charles
Seymour eds., 1921), available at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015008590062;
JAMES F. WILLIS, PROLOGUE TO NUREMBERG: THE POLITICS AND DIPLOMACY OF PUNISHING WAR
CRIMINALS OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR (1982).
3
See DIV. OF INTL L., CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTL PEACE, PAMPHLET NO. 32, VIOLATIONS OF
THE LAW AND CUSTOMS OF WAR: REPORTS OF MAJORITY AND DISSENTING REPORTS OF AMERICAN
AND JAPANESE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION OF RESPONSIBILITIES, CONFERENCE OF PARIS 1919
(1919) [hereinafter DIV. OF INTL L., CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTL PEACE, PAMPHLET 32].
412 TRANSNATIONAL LAW & CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS [Vol. 20:411]
The U.S. representatives broke ran ks with the majority of states, arguing
against an international criminal court to prosecute Wilhelm II. The United
States signed the Tre aty of Peace on June 28, 1919, but the U.S. Senate
refused to ratify the Treaty of Peace in its original form.
4
On August 25, 1921,
the United States signed a separate peace treaty with Germany, which the
President ratified o n October 21, 1921,
5
under which the United States
assumed no responsibility to the League of Nations.
6
This prevented the
United States from becoming a State Party to the League of Nations.
Seventy-eight years later in Rome, the United State s again broke ranks
with the majority of states in treaty negotiations over the creation of an
international criminal court. In 1998, the United States was o ne of only seven
states th at voted against adopting the treaty that created the International
Criminal Court.
7
In 2000, the United States signed the Rome Treaty just as it
had signed the Treaty of Peace in 1919.
8
However, in 2002, the United States
sent a letter to the Secretary General informing the United Nations that it
did not intend to ratify the Rome Treaty and the United States assumed no
responsibility as a signatory.
9
Woodrow Wilson signe d the Treaty of Peace on June 28, 1919, and Bill
Clinton authorized the signature o f the Rome Treaty on December 31, 2000.
Both presidents saw value in the treaties that they authorized for signature.
However, Wilson urged the Senate to ratify the Treaty of Peace, while
Clinton did not seek ratification from the Se nate.
10
The Senate voted against
ratifying the Treaty of Peace in its original form and there is no indication
4
The United States was the first of the Allied and Associated Powers to sign the Treaty of Peace
on June 28, 1919. The Signing of the Treaty of Peace with Germany at Versailles on June 28th,
1919, at 5, Lansing Papers (on file with Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton
University, Princeton, NJ).
5
Treaty Restoring Friendly Relations, U.S.-Ger., Aug. 25, 1921, 3 Malloy 2596.
6
Peace Treaty with Germany is Signed: We Hold Versailles Compact Rights, But Assume No
League Obligations, N.Y. TIMES, Aug. 26, 1921, at 1.
7
M. Cherif Bassiouni, Negotiating the Treaty of Rome on the Establishment of an International
Criminal Court, 32 CORNELL INTL L.J. 443, 459 n.69 (1999); Philippe Kirsch & John T. Holmes,
The Birth of the International Criminal Court: The Rome Conference, 36 CAN. Y.B. INTL L. 3, 35
(1998).
8
William J. Clinton, Statement on the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court,
reprinted in 3 PUB. PAPERS 281617 (Dec. 31, 2000) [hereinafter Clinton, Statement on the Rome
Treaty]; see also Sean D. Murphy, U.S. Signing of the Statute of the International Criminal
Court, 95 AM. J. INTL L. 392, 399 (2001).
9
Letter from John R. Bolton, Under Secretary of State, to U.N. Secretary General Regarding the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Apr. 27, 2002), reprinted in 41 I.L.M. 1014
(2002); see also Jonathan Wright, U.S. Renounces Obligations to International Court, REUTERS,
May 6, 2002, at 2.
10
In his statement on the United States signing the Rome Treaty, President Clinton stated, ―I
will not, and do not recommend that my successor, submit the treaty to the Senate for advice and
consent until our fundamental concerns are satisfied.‖ Clinton, Statement on the Rome Treaty,
supra note 8, at 4817.

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