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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 6:44 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of Mike Gapes Mike Gapes Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee 6:44 pm, 13th October 2008

I hope so. I think that there is considerable support in the Democratic party for that approach. I spoke at a seminar in Chicago in 2005, organised by the university of Chicago, for which some people were brought over from Europe to argue for the US to join the ICC; the university of Chicago is, of course, in Barack Obama's home city. There is a body of opinion for that view and I hope there will be US support for signing up to the ICC. However, in United States politics there remains a view of American exceptionalism, whereby the international rules do not apply to the United States, and we must recognise that we will still have to do a persuasion job to emphasise the importance of this matter. The American support for referring the Sudanese Government to the ICC over Darfur was an important sign, because the Security Council is needed to make such a reference and the move was not blocked. That was a positive sign, even under President Bush. So all is not lost, but we need to maintain the pressure on that issue.