Harold Koh

Recent Articles

On America's Double Standard

When the United States holds Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without Geneva Convention hearings, then decries the failure of others to accord Geneva Convention protections to their American prisoners, it supports a double standard. When George W. Bush tries to “unsign” the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty that Bill Clinton signed in 2000, yet expects other nations to honor signed treaties, he does the same. When U.S. courts ignore an International Court of Justice decision enjoining American execution of foreign nationals, even as we demand that other countries obey international adjudications that favor American interests, the United States is using its vast power and wealth to promote a double standard. In these and other instances, the United States proposes that a different rule should apply to itself than to the rest of the world. U.S. officials say that they must act to protect our security and to avoid unacceptable constraints on national prerogative. But to...