Final Ratifications to Be Announced April 11 Say Leaders

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2002 ( – The US ambassador for war crimes issues said last week that the Bush administration is considering withdrawing its signature from the 1998 Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. In related news, the final ratifications are expected to be announced at a UN meeting next week on April 11.

Last Thursday, Pierre Prosper, U.S. ambassador for war crimes issues said, “The United States is not and will not be a part of the ICC.” Withdrawing or “unsigning,” he told a press conference, “means that a country will not be bound by the treaty.” He said unsigning “makes clear that one does not intend to be part of the treaty.” He warned that “A U.S. serviceman or a political official could be brought before the court for purely political offenses and not for offenses that might have been committed.”

However, Palitha Kohona, head of the treaty section at the United Nations says that once a nation has signed a treaty (as former President Clinton did for the US despite massive opposition) it is required not to do anything contrary to the objective and purpose of the treaty. So far 139 nations have signed the treaty, and only four ratifications are required for the International Criminal Court to obtain international jurisdiction.

The NGO Coalition for the ICC reports that the ratifications will come in at a UN ceremony scheduled for April 11. In order to give the last few countries to ratify credit for bringing the court into force, each country that ratifies during the event will be considered the 60th. Cambodia, Ireland, Jordan, Romania have confirmed their participation, and Bosnia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo may also join the ratification ceremony, says the report.

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