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U.S. Questions Why, Unlike Other Nations, It Is being Forced To Accept ICC Without Exceptions

NEW YORK, July 2, 2002 (LSN.ca) – John Negroponte, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, vetoed a resolution that would have extended the UN Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina (UNMIBH) until the end of the year.  The action was taken in response to the Security Council members failing to support a US-proposed exemption for nationals of countries who are not party to the International Criminal Court from the court’s jurisdiction.  U.S. diplomats have negotiated intensely, but unsuccessfully, at UN headquarters and in the capitals of the other 14 members of the Security Council to obtain support for the provision.  The vote on the resolution by the Security Council was 13 against and Bulgaria abstaining.  “The failure of the Security Council to act to preserve an appropriate legal status for the U.S. and other non-ICC party peacekeepers can only end in damage to international peacekeeping generally,” the ambassador said. He continued that “It strikes us as more than perplexing that others who are parties to the ICC can use the provision of the treaty to exempt their forces for an extended period from the purview of the court for war crimes and then suggest that our attempt to use other provisions of the treaty similarly to provide protection for our forces either violates their treaty obligations or does unacceptable damage to the spirit of the treaty.”

In a press briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer explained that the US has “given (the Security Council) an additional three days time to try to hopefully bring this matter to a successful resolution. But the world should make no mistake; the United States will stand strong and stand on principle and do what’s right to protect our citizens.”

Fleischer also noted that “many of the nations that are signatories to this treaty have built in similar protections to themselves. The United States simply asks that those same protections that are afforded other nations be afforded to the United States.” Commenting on the puzzling situation Negroponte said, “It strikes us as more than perplexing that others who are parties to the ICC can use the provision of the treaty to exempt their forces for an extended period from the purview of the court for war crimes and then suggest that our attempt to use other provisions of the treaty similarly to provide protection for our forces either violates their treaty obligations or does unacceptable damage to the spirit of the treaty.”  See the press briefing transcript and the file on Negroponte’s intervention:  https://usinfo.state.gov/cgi-bin/washfile/display.pl?p=/products/washfile/latest&f=02070102.tlt&t=/products/washfile/newsitem.shtml https://usinfo.state.gov/cgi-bin/washfile/display.pl?p=/products/washfile/latest&f=02070102.plt&t=/products/washfile/newsitem.shtml

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