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BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER: U.S. finds unusual allies in opposing court (the worst HR violaters on earth)

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    Assalamu alaikum, U.S. finds unusual allies in opposing court By David R. Sands THE WASHINGTON TIMES http://www.washtimes.com/world/20020703-14802998.htm The
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2002

      U.S. finds unusual allies in opposing court

      By David R. Sands


      The Bush administration has plenty of allies in its case against the
      International Criminal Court.

      Although often portrayed as a fight between Washington and the world over
      the new global court, the deep U.S. skepticism over the ICC is shared by
      some powerful and unlikely countries, including:
      China, the world's most populous country; India, the world's most
      populous democracy; and Indonesia, the world's most populous
      majority-Muslim nation, which together account for more than a third of
      the globe's population.
      Russia, the world's second-biggest nuclear power, and Japan, its
      second-biggest economy.
      Turkey, the new head of the international peacekeeping force in
      Afghanistan; Pakistan, a critical ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism;
      and Israel, the most reliable U.S. ally in the Middle East.
      Iran, Iraq and North Korea, the charter members of President Bush's
      "axis of evil."
      "You're definitely not alone in this," said Mark Regev, spokesman for
      the Israeli Embassy. "Israel has definitively decided not to be a part of
      this effort because our concerns about the potential politicization of the
      court have never been addressed."
      To date, 76 countries have ratified the treaty that created the
      court, and another 63 including the United States have signed the treaty
      but not ratified it. Countries that never signed the 1998 Rome treaty
      include China, India and Turkey, while a number of states that did sign,
      including Egypt and Thailand, have moved slowly at best on ratification.
      The United States has borne the brunt of the international criticism,
      especially in Western European capitals, with the issue of U.S. military
      participation in peacekeeping missions fueling the debate. ICC-watchers
      suggested this week that many of the court's other critics are happy to
      let the United States take the heat.
      "Historically, there has always been a real eagerness by some to let
      the United States do their dirty work for them," said William Pace,
      executive director of the World Federalist Society and founder of a
      coalition of about 1,000 private organizations supporting the ICC.
      But Swedish diplomat Phillippe Kirsch, who chaired the recent ICC
      preparatory commission meeting, said the United States has been by far the
      most aggressive in its opposition to the court.
      "The United States is the only country in the world that has taken an
      actively adversarial attitude to the court," he said in a recent interview
      with the Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty service.
      "Other states that may not have signed or ratified yet are taking a
      much more cooperative approach, including China and Russia," he said.
      Reasons for opposing the ICC vary from country to country.
      India has refused to sign the Rome treaty because, it argues, the
      drafters gave the U.N Security Council too much power in deciding which
      case to pursue and rejected a proposal to include the use of weapons of
      mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, under the court's
      India and its South Asian rival, Pakistan, both tested nuclear
      weapons just as the treaty was being completed.
      China has objected, as the United States has, to the idea that the
      court could target individuals for acts of aggression, and also to the
      notion that the ICC could directly prosecute Chinese citizens.
      Russian officials have been highly critical of the U.N. international
      tribunal now trying former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in The
      Hague, and there is further concern in Moscow that the military campaign
      in Chechnya could face scrutiny in the ICC.
      Israeli officials at the United Nations say a treaty provision on the
      transfer of civilian populations could drag the question of Israeli
      settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip before the global court.
      Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch International,
      said many Asian regimes have traditionally been hostile to Western notions
      of universal justice.
      "In Asia, you have everything from highly repressive regimes Burma
      and China to more moderate governments that are nevertheless hostile to
      the human rights environment," he said.
      No Middle Eastern Arab government has ratified the treaty, while
      virtually all of the economic "tigers" in the Association of Southeast
      Asian Nations have yet to join the ICC.
      Staff writer Betsy Pisik contributed to this story from New York.

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