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Roberts papers show nominee had doubts about genocide treaty, but advised approval

[JURIST] New papers by US Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. [JURIST news archive] released by the National Archives Friday indicate that as a young White House lawyer in 1984 he had some doubts over American ratification of the 1948 Genocide Convention [text] which he feared might be used by some as a device to prosecute US military personnel, but that he ultimately advised President Reagan to go ahead with ratification to avoid international embarrassment to the United States. The US was one of the original signatories to the treaty, but even with the Reagan administration behind the Convention the US Senate did not ratify it until 1988 [PFAW backgrounder], and even at stage only with certain reservations and understandings. Roberts' reservations may provide ammunition for Democrats exploring his stance on international legal issues and US obligations under international law during his confirmation hearings, scheduled to start Tuesday. More revelations may eventually be forthcoming from this latest collection of Roberts-related White House documentary materials, totaling some 18,000 pages. The National Archives has released a number of Roberts documents directly online [accession list]. A confirmation hearings witness list released Friday by Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats suggests they will focus most of their attention on Roberts' civil rights record, which has already been sharply criticized by the ACLU [JURIST report] and other rights organization. Saturday's Washington Post has more.

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