ROME, June 16 (LSN) – Yesterday, the opening day of the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (ICC), it appeared the United Nations will be successful in gaining acceptance of a powerful, independent court with universal jurisdiction. The United States has serious reservations, but is experiencing enormous pressure from other countries to agree. Perhaps referring to the Americans’ position, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told reporters, “No one country, I hope, will want to be responsible for the failure of this conference.” The Canadian delegation, among many others, is challenging the U.S. to fall into line with the UN’s demands. Hilde F. Johnson, Norway’s minister for international development and human rights, spoke against any compromise on plans for the ICC, objecting to language proposed for the final agreement which would allow some flexibility. “We find a reservations clause totally unacceptable,” she said. “The mere possibility of such a clause would in fact diminish significantly the rationale for any compromises in the negotiations on substantive provisions of this important treaty.” One of the main debates at the conference revolves around the issue of safeguards against abuse of power by the ICC. The United States, Russia, France, and China want UN Security Council members each to be given the right to veto proposed prosecutions. Canada is leading 46 other nations in opposing that position, saying only a unanimous vote of the Security Council should be allowed to limit ICC initiatives.