Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he would support an international investigation of America’s criminal justice system and its treatment of African Americans.
MSNBC host Joy Reid asked Ellison Tuesday if he thinks the International Criminal Court (ICC) should investigate “the American criminal justice system” and “inhuman acts generally by American law enforcement.”
“Yes. I think that if we have nothing to hide, we shouldn’t worry about what might be found by the international community. I think it would be wise for the United States criminal justice system to open itself up,” Ellison responded.
He said the international community “has helped in the area of racial justice in America before.”
“I mean, the international community is relevant in this conversation, and I think that it could only make us better. It can only make us better, and I think a little bit of humility toward the rest of the world, understanding the eyes of the world are upon us, is important,” he added.
"The international community is relevant in this conversation and it can only make us better."@keithellison on an international inquiry classifying police killings of Black Americans as crimes against humanity. #TheReidOut pic.twitter.com/vxzr2Dgcv0
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) April 27, 2021
The interview was conducted shortly after a group of “human rights experts” released a report describing police treatment of African Americans as “crimes against humanity.”
“This finding of crimes against humanity was not given lightly, we included it with a very clear mind,” one of the authors of the report told the Guardian. “We examined all the facts and concluded that there are situations in the U.S. that beg the urgent scrutiny of the ICC.”
The problem, however, is that the United States never officially signed the Rome Statute, the binding treaty among members of the ICC.
“The U.S. is not a state party to the Rome Statute. The U.S. participated in the negotiations that led to the creation of the court. However, in 1998 the U.S. was one of only seven countries — along with China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, and Yemen — that voted against the Rome Statute,” according to Human Rights Watch.
As such, there are “limited situations in which the ICC has jurisdiction over the nationals of countries, such as the U.S., that have not joined the Rome Statute.” This appears to only include scenarios where a citizen of a non-member country “commits war crimes, crimes against humanity, [or] genocide” while in a member country.
The creation of the ICC was “negotiated within the UN,” but is not part of the UN. Established in 1997, the court investigates and tries “individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community.”