US accused of ICC bullying

BBC, Aug. 14, 2002
By Jacky Rowland
BBC Washington correspondent

Human rights activists have accused the United States of trying to blackmail other countries into keeping American citizens beyond the reach of the new International Criminal Court (ICC).

Washington has indicated that foreign governments may lose US military aid if they do not co-operate.

The US argues that hostile countries may abuse the international court to bring politically motivated cases against American peacekeepers.

The US is at loggerheads with its European allies over whether American citizens should face international justice.

Those differences were papered over last month, when the United Nations Security Council said US peacekeepers would be exempt from prosecution for a year.

This would give Washington time to reach bilateral agreements with other countries not to extradite Americans to the court.

But now a human rights group is accusing the Bush administration of blackmail.

The group, Human Rights Watch, says Washington is threatening to cut off military aid to countries that do not toe the line.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell denied that Washington was bludgeoning its friends.

But a State Department official admitted that the US would be approaching countries one by one to ask them, as he put it, to respect America’s decision.

Human rights activists are accusing the administration of double-standards.

Washington has put huge pressure on Yugoslavia to extradite its citizens to The Hague, including the former President, Slobodan Milosevic.

But, the activists say, America does not want its own nationals to face the same kind of trial.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday August 14, 2002.
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