AP, Nov. 2, 2003
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) – The White House on Saturday announced agreements with another seven countries to exempt American personnel from prosecution by the International Criminal Court, which it staunchly opposes.
The 1998 Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court has been ratified by 90 countries, but the court faces opposition from the United States. Washington says it fears that Americans, particularly soldiers abroad, could fall victim to politically motivated prosecutions.
The Bush administration has signed bilateral treaties with more than three dozen countries that have agreed not to hand over American citizens to the court. The latest, according to a statement released by the White House Saturday, are Botswana, East Timor, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and Antigua and Barbuda.
Also Saturday, President Bush added Romania to the list of countries exempted from U.S. warnings of a cutoff in military or humanitarian aid for not entering into agreements on troops and prosecution.
Non-governmental organizations have complained that Washington has pushed countries into signing the deals by saying it will withhold humanitarian aid or military support or even by blocking NATO membership.
The White House made the announcements as Bush was on a campaign trip to Gulfport, Miss.