The US and the ICC: Prospective Revitalization of the ‘Hague Invasion Act’ Under the Trump Administration

8 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2017  

Mrinal Verma

Leiden University, Leiden Law School, Students

Date Written: January 30, 2017


The American Service-Members Protection Act of 2002, also called the ‘Hague Invasion’ act was signed into law on Jan 28, 2008. It is called so because it authorizes the U.S. President to use ‘all means necessary and appropriate’ to ensure that any US or allied personnel being tried by the ICC are released. This paper aims to study the prospective use of this act in the future, under President Trump, especially with looming investigations into war-crimes in Afghanistan by the Prosecutor of the ICC

This paper analyzes this act in-depth, beginning with the motivation behind this unique legislation and then going through some of its important provisions. It goes into a slightly political study of US policies that lead to the creation of this act with the change in Administration from Clinton to Bush, both of whom were against the ICC.

The paper then contrasts the provisions against established principles of International Law such as Prohibition on the Use of Force and demonstrates how the act permits use of force and without complying with the usual defenses to it under International Law. It further analyses other violations of International Treaties that the act permits.

Subsequently, the paper discusses the excessive nature of this legislation by discussing the 'complementarity' requirement of the ICC which would enable the use to essentially 'get the ICC off its back' without having to resort to the extreme measures that this act provides.

The paper concludes with an analysis of an actual threat of the use of this act and how domestic legal policies can shape international politics with change in administrations and how substantial that effect can actually be.

Keywords: United States, U.S., ICC, American Service-Members Protection Act, Hague Invasion Act, ASPA, Policy, Administration, Trump, Donald J. Trump, President Trump, America, Hague, International Criminal Court, International Law, NATO, United Nations, UN, Use of Force

Suggested Citation

Verma, Mrinal, The US and the ICC: Prospective Revitalization of the ‘Hague Invasion Act’ Under the Trump Administration (January 30, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Mrinal Verma (Contact Author)

Leiden University, Leiden Law School, Students ( email )


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