Despite terrorist attacks, US still quibbling on intl court




EUROPEAN and Asian delegates to the International Criminal Court said the United States may finally ratify the 1998 Rome Statute on the prosecution of crimes against humanity after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Emma Bonino, member of the European Parliament and head of delegation of the European Commission to the Rome Conference, said that after attacks on the US, there has been an increase in the number of countries which ratified the ICC statute.
“The US government signed the 1998 Rome Statute last year but did not ratify it. Maybe after the September 11 attacks, they will change to a less passive stance,” said Bonino at yesterday’s opening of the Experts’ Conference on the ICC in 1998.
The US, along with China and Israel, opposed the establishment of the ICC in the 1998.
The US government’s principal objection was over jurisdiction of the court and its application aver nonstate parties. It also said that the Statute must recognize the role of the Security Council in determining the act of aggression.
China said however, that the power given to the pretrial chamber to check the prosecutor’s initiative was not sufficient, and that the adoption of the statute should have been by consensus, not by vote.
Isreal said that it failed to comprehend why the act of transferring populations into an occupied territory was included on the list of war crimes.
The ICC seeks to handle the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. These include genocide, war crimes and crimes of aggression.
Bonino said terrorism as a crime has yet to be included on the list of crimes to be placed under the jurisdiction of ICC.
“Countries like India, Sri Lanka, Algeria and Turkey proposed to include terrorism during the 1998 Rome conference but did not get support,” said Bonino.
She added that Turkey insisted on the inclusion of terrorism in the list of crimes against humanity but the delegates to the conference decided to hold another forum to discuss the issue.
This issue will be tackled in the next ICC conference in Prague in December. Bonino explained that the ICC will only handle cases if there is genuine unwillingness or inability of the national criminal justice system or is itself involved in the commission of the crime.
Adriaan Bos, chairman of the ICC preparatory committee, said the US treats the September 11 attacks as a domestic problem and believes that is in a position of trying its own cases.