Brussels (30 Sept.) As EU foreign ministers meet today to decide the EU’s response to US bilateral agreements aimed at exempting US personnel from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, Amnesty International has handed the Danish foreign minister, Per Stig Moller, the results of its global petition calling on all governments to refuse to enter into any agreement that grants effective immunity from prosecution for crimes under international law.
The on-line petition (http://web.amnesty.org/web/icc_petition.nsf/action_english) was launched by Amnesty International just over a week ago and will be circulated worldwide until the end of October. In one week, 40,000 people have signed, many of them from EU countries. The results of the petition were handed to the Danish foreign minister, representing the EU Presidency, in Copenhagen last Friday 27 September. Copies have been sent to all EU foreign ministers.
“Countries around the world are watching to see what the European Union’s attitude will be to these bilateral agreements which clearly compromise the International Criminal Court,” said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.
“The EU has been a strong supporter of the Court and the Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller, on behalf of the EU Presidency, has underlined the importance the EU attaches to preserving its full integrity.”
“The EU clearly holds the key to this issue internationally. It must take the lead in the world and reject US attempts to undermine international law,” said Dick Oosting. “If the EU won’t stand up for the International Criminal Court, then who will
US government officials say 12 countries have now signed “Article 98” agreements aimed at ensuring that US personnel are not handed over to the International Criminal Court: Micronesia, Romania, Israel, East Timor, the Marshall Islands, Afghanistan, Honduras, Uzbekistan, Mauritania, Dominican Republic, Palau and Tajikistan.
In a 30-page legal analysis released earlier this month (available on this website go to “documents“), Amnesty International illustrates how these bilateral agreements violate both the spirit and the letter of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court.
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Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
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