International Criminal Court: EU Says Yes, but...

US requests only partially accepted by EU

After a month of tough negotiations, the 15 Foreign Ministers of the European Union countries have accepted the request by the USA for its citizens to be immune from prosecution by the International Criminal Court, but based on certain conditions.

Declaring that “The agreements proposed by the United States, as they are currently worded, would be inconsistent with the obligations assumed by the states which are members of the ICC…and could be inconsistent with other international agreements in which the member states of the ICC are signatories”, the EU decided to agree in part to the demands by the USA but with two riders.

The first condition is that there should be no impunity. Under this condition, citiz4ens accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity, from whatever country, must be tried in another court of law, if not the ICC. Secondly, any immunity from prosecution only applies to US citizens sent abroad by their administration, namely diplomats or military personnel. Others are subject to the ICC.

Under normal EU procedure, member states are given a certain leeway to adopt the agreement into their legislation. As Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller explained: “EU states can decide whether these agreements with the USA are enough to respond to their preoccupations and whether they need to be altered or new agreements need to be made”.

The end result is far from unanimous support for the demand by Washington that its citizens should be above trial by the International Criminal Court, when the citizens of other countries can be judged there. The notion that international law and justice can have two weights and measures depending on the origin of citizens appears dangerously close to ideas of racial or national supremacy.


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