The Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC) provides an ideal opportunity for Native American nations to begin attaining the rights and protections they have sought from the U.S. Government. Essentially, ratification would establish a legal relationship between Native American tribal governments and the ICC, as an international body, permitting Native American nations to interact independently with international organizations and States. Native Americans could help lay the foundation for establishing international legal personality-something previously denied by the United Nations (U.N.)-through ratification. In tum Native Americans would place pressure on the United States Government to recognize their political sovereignty. The ICC provides a positive starting point for a movement towards Native American political sovereignty. Since Native American nations generally satisfy the customary international law definition of statehood, and because the ICC's mandate is limited in scope to the prosecution of individuals and not disputes among States, the ICC is an ideal venue for tribal governments to begin establishing an international legal identity. Therefore, in an effort to enhance self-government, promote economic development and ensure protection from human rights violations, Native American nations should seek to ratify the Rome Statute.



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