www.globalresearch.ca Centre for Research on Globalisation Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation
It would appear that president Bush fears prosecution for crimes against humanity. If not why then would the US State Department intervene in a coordinated initiative to sabotage the International Criminal Court (ICC). Below is the Reuters dispatch as well as a link to the statement of Under Secretary of State John Bolton.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior U.S. official said a principal motive for U.S. opposition to the newly created International Criminal Court was fear that the court might prosecute the president or other civilian or military leaders.
"Our concern goes beyond the possibility that the prosecutor will target for indictment the isolated U.S. soldier. ... Our principal concern is for our country's top civilian and military leaders, those responsible for our defense and foreign policy," Under Secretary of State John Bolton said in a speech released on Friday.
"A fair reading of the treaty (setting up the court) leaves one unable to answer with confidence whether the United States would now be accused of war crimes for legitimate but controversial uses of force to protect world peace," Bolton told the Federalist Society in Washington on Thursday.
"No U.S. presidents or their advisors could be assured that they would be unequivocally safe from politicized charges of criminal liability," he added.
That fear, which U.S. officials have rarely if ever articulated in public, explains why the United States opposed a compromise offered in September by the European Union, which is strongly in favor of the new court.
When Washington lobbied European governments this year for immunity for U.S. personnel, the Europeans suggested limiting liability to U.S. soldiers and officials sent overseas.
'RESTRAIN AMERICAN DISCRETION'
"There are many Americans that are not diplomats and troops," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, explaining why Washington thought the offer inadequate.
Bolton, a hawk who opposes international obligations which tie Washington's hands, said top U.S. civilian and military leaders ran the risk of prosecution in the international court "as part of an agenda to restrain American discretion."
He likened the international prosecutor to the U.S. independent counsels who have harassed U.S. presidents.
The most famous of those was Ken Starr, who led the investigation into the financial and sexual affairs of former President Bill Clinton, which led to his impeachment.
"That history argues overwhelmingly against international repetition. Simply launching massive criminal investigations has an enormous political impact.
"Although subsequent indictments and convictions are unquestionably more serious, a zealous independent prosecutor can make dramatic news just by calling witnesses and gathering documents, without ever bringing formal charges," Bolton said.
The international court came into being on July 1, with a mandate to prosecute genocide and crimes against humanity.
The United States has refused to cooperate with the court and is trying to persuade other countries to sign bilateral agreements giving U.S. personnel immunity from prosecution.
So far 13 countries have signed such agreements and Bolton said the United States would soon have negotiations on agreements with countries in the Middle East and South Asia.
Copyright Reuters 2002. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/REU211A.html