US should unsign 1994 agreement to resolve legal ambiguity over its actions
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“Unsigning” the 1994 Agreement. When the Clinton Administration signed the 1994 Agreement in July 1994, it arguably obliged the United States to refrain from committing any act that would defeat the agreement’s “object and purpose,” even though the United States has ratified neither the agree- ment nor UNCLOS.94 The United States should therefore “unsign” the 1994 Agreement to resolve any legal ambiguity regarding U.S. intentions to explore and mine the deep seabed. In May 2002, the Administration of President George W. bush delivered a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General regarding the rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which the Clinton Administration had signed in December 2000. The letter stated that the United States “does not intend to become a party” to the rome Statute and accordingly “has no legal obligations arising from its signature on December 31, 2000.”95 This “unsigning” of the Rome Statute made clear to the international community that the United States has no intention of joining the ICC, and it enabled the bush Administration to secure pledges from other nations that they would not surrender U.S. military personnel to the ICC for prosecution.96 Since securing such pledges would arguably defeat the object and pur- pose of the rome Statute, the unsigning letter was necessary to clarify that the U.S. no longer had an obligation to adhere to the terms of the rome Statute. The United States should unsign the 1994 Agreement to resolve any legal ambiguity regarding U.S. actions that may be seen as violating the agreement’s object and purpose. Since the United States never signed UNCLOS, it is unnecessary to unsign the convention.