*** U.N. To Try U.S. Citizens In World Court
- U.N. TO TRY U.S. CITIZENSIN WORLD COURTU.S. Under Pressure Over U.N. Court
By Edith M. Lederer
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, June 15, 2000; 10:07 a.m. EDTUNITED NATIONS - The United States is trying to untangle problems with the European Union and Sen. Jesse Helms as it starts high-stakes negotiations to protect Americans from prosecution by the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal.
U.S. Ambassador David Scheffer said Wednesday he believes the United States can get other countries to agree to a new U.S. proposal that would exempt U.S. soldiers and government officials from prosecution and at the same time ensure that citizens of "irresponsible nations" are not exempt. *
Whether the United States can achieve that remains to be seen: Scheffer, the ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, said his deadline is June 30, when the commission preparing for the court's operation ends a three-week meeting.
The European Union rejected the U.S. proposals circulated in March to deal with the exemption issue, and a coalition of more than 1,000 human rights and grass-roots groups has been lobbying delegations not to accept any U.S. changes that would undermine the court's effectiveness and credibility.
Pressure on the Clinton administration intensified Wednesday when Helms, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced legislation that would bar any U.S. cooperation with the court, as long as the United States has not ratified the treaty creating it.
The United States was one of seven countries voting "no" when 120 countries approved the treaty to establish the International Criminal Court in July 1998 in Rome. Nonetheless, it is helping draft the court's rules of
procedure and evidence.
The court was created to deal with the most heinous crimes genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Under the treaty, the court will step in only when states are unwilling or unable to dispense justice. It can exercise jurisdiction when either the country where the crime took place or the country whose nationals committed the crime have ratified the statute.Sent by:Pastor M. D. McCubbins
* Just so we don't miss the point, let's repeat that second paragraph without the extra wording, "U.S. Ambassador David Scheffer said Wednesday he believes the United States can get other countries to agree to a new U.S. proposal that would exempt government officials from prosecution and at the same time ensure that citizens are not exempt." That's what you read, folks, "Government exempt, citizens not exempt." Tyrants like Hitler or Stalin could not be tried in the World Court, but you can!J.A.I.L. (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law)
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