The Ratification of the Rome Statute: The Next Step in Establishing an American Equalitarian Legal Order?

Document Type : Original Article


North Carolina Central University School of Law


For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, America has grappled with making progress in race relations. Apartheid is generally defined as systemic laws and practices that target one race against another and discriminate between races. It is my theory that the ratification of the Rome Statute, specifically art. 7(j), may be the next step in establishing what former civil rights pioneer and American jurist William Henry Hastie Jr. penned “an equalitarian legal order”. In this piece, I will discuss what Hastie’s “equalitarian legal order” is, and why the American legal system needs an equalitarian legal order, and how art. 7(j) of the Rome Statute’s crimes against humanity’s anti-apartheid provisions may be the next step in continuing Hastie’s aforestated legal order. In addition, I will highlight the American legal and political hurdles that inhibit the ratification of the Rome Statute in the United States. Lastly, I will discuss how international customary law compels the United States judiciary to adopt the Rome Statute’s antiapartheid provisions into American jurisprudence.


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