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International Criminal Court Still Threatens Americans

Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM

The State Department tells NewsMax.com there is concern the ICC will claim jurisdiction over U.S. citizens, even though the U.S. Monday formally

"Senator Helms is absolutely right,” a State Department source told NewsMax, referring to the North Carolina Republican’s statement that the Rome Treaty, which created the court, "can apply to citizens of countries that have not agreed to it.”

In a one-paragraph

But there’s fear the court will disagree and try to assert its authority. The State Department reportedly is exploring legal challenges to such moves to deprive its citizens of their constitutional rights.

The treaty has never been submitted to the Senate for ratification, in part because of President Bush’s concern it could cause Americans to be hauled before a body that does not respect U.S. constitutional protections for the accused. Even then-President Bill Clinton expressed reservations when he signed the document.

The U.S., by unsigning the treaty, is defending its sovereignty for the long haul. Ironically, there is a short-term problem that requires quick action to plug a loophole that intrudes on sovereignty.

States that have ratified the treaty have exempted themselves from its provisions for five years.

"Since we have not ratified, our troops can be prosecuted immediately,” said the source. "But the French troops [for example] cannot be prosecuted.”

That is why efforts are under way to remedy the problem. The Bush administration is working closely with allies on Capitol Hill to coordinate corrective efforts. The U.S. has no intention to honor a treaty not ratified by the U.S. Senate, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

As reported previously by NewsMax, Sen. Helms has written legislation prohibiting U.S. cooperation with the court, exempting U.S. troops from ICC provsions, bringing pressure on other nations to honor such an exemption and authorizing the president to take "necessary action” to rescue any U.S. soldiers improperly detained and prosecuted by the court.

The Arab nations have "massively ratified” the ICC because they want to start prosecuting Israeli officials and soldiers, a source told NewsMax. But the danger applies to the U.S. too.

During a Q&A session at a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a reporter for BBC asked Bolton to address European concerns about U.S. "unilateralism,” of which the ICC action was the latest example. Most European countries have signed the ICC.

"I think the concerns are misplaced,” the high State Department official responded. "I think that what the United States does is pursue its national interest. And not surprisingly, I think that’s what European countries do too.”

Some U.S. actions in advancing its interests are unilateral, but also "some are multilateral,” Bolton said.

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The State Department tells NewsMax.com there is concern theICC will claim jurisdiction over U.S. citizens, even though the U.S. Monday formally Senator Helms is absolutely right," a State Department source told NewsMax, referring to the North Carolina Republican's...
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2002-00-06
Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM
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