THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: THE BIG WRINGING OF THE SMALL ONES' HANDS
The battle for the authority of the International Criminal Court on American citizens is going on in full steam on both sides of the Atlantic. Brussels recommends to the candidates for EU membership to refrain from making agreements with the USA, which are in contradiction to the negotiated joint position of the EU. As a country applying for accession it is desirable that you act in compliance with the negotiated position of the EU, a letter from Brussels reads. Briefly this standpoint says: The countries can except American military and government officials from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if Washington guarantees that the accusations against them would be investigated and they would be brought to trial in the USA. At the summit in Porto Caras the European leaders wrote down their common decision: The EU fully supports the International Criminal Court and regards it as an important step forwards in the sphere of human rights and international humanitarian law. The US administration has also set in motion its whole machine for pressure. Emissaries have been sent all over the world in order to make the governments agree with the guarantees that American citizens would be excluded from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The US Congress has approved a provision that any country that refuses to sign such an agreement by July 1 could be denied US military assistance. So far 43 countries have agreed to make such a deal with the USA, three candidates for EU membership among them, which did not conform with the recommendations for refraining from such agreements - Albania, Bosnia, and Romania.Bulgaria joined the common position back at the forum in the Greek resort, refusing to sign a bilateral agreement for American citizens' immunity from the International Criminal Court. Later on President Georgi Parvanov said the USA had the right to make a decision about its future military assistance to Bulgaria (USD20MN). Slovenia and Croatia also said they would not sign such agreements. This means that Ljubljana would be deprived of USD8MN. And Zagreb is considering other ways for replying Washington's requirements and not miss the US military aid of USD19MN. Macedonia is also in an awkward position. According to mass media, Skopje will keep the July 1 deadline and its answer will be probably yes. Romania was the first country that signed in Washington the agreement for American citizens' immunity from the International Criminal Court last year, but now the country undertook a commitment to the EU to not observe its promise to the USA, the Romanian newpaper Adeverpul wrote. Still prior the EU summit Washington had won a victory in the Security Council regarding the International Criminal Court. The immunity of the UN's peacekeeping forces from the International Criminal Court was extended for a second time, by one more year. The draft resolution, moved by the USA, was supported by 12 of the Security Council's members. France, Germany, and Syria abstained. Bulgaria supported the resolution. According to the Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, the period of one year would provide an opportunity for reaching a concensus between the EU and the USA on the matter. In 1998 former US president Bill Clinton's government signed the Rome Treaty for the establishment of the International Criminal Court, but the adminsitration of the incumbent US President George Bush annulled the US signature, stating it would never ratify the agreement due to the possibility of using the court for arbitrary persecution of US military men or as an instrument of political pressure on the Americans.