BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 11 July, 2002, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Analysis: US softens immunity demand
US peacekeeper in Bosnia
The US wants immunity for its peacekeepers

The first sign of a possible deal has emerged to end the deadlock at the United Nations between the United States and its allies over the new International Criminal Court.


The draft resolution is a very fair basis for discussion

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador to the UN
The British president of the Security Council, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, said a new American proposal provided a good basis for negotiations.

At issue is Washington's demand that American peacekeepers should be put beyond the reach of the court, set up this month to try war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Up to now the Bush administration has been demanding permanent immunity for international peacekeepers, especially Americans, from prosecution by the court.

Its new proposal marks a retreat from that. The draft resolution doesn't use the word immunity.

Instead it says the court would not investigate or prosecute members of UN-authorised missions for one year - after that the Security Council would have to vote on whether to renew the exemption.

Welcome

Delegates are consulting their governments and talks at the council will continue on Thursday.

The American proposal emerged at the end of a council debate in which a wide range of countries strongly criticised the Bush administration's attitude, and its threat to block the renewal of UN peacekeeping operations unless it gets its way.


If we cannot reach a satisfactory agreement we should extend the mandate (of the UN mission in Bosnia) until 31 December

French Foreign Ministry
Only India supported Washington.

But the shift in the American position was welcomed by one Security Council member - Mauritius - as constructive.

Britain's Sir Jeremy Greenstock said the draft was "a very fair basis for discussion". And British officials suggested that China might vote with the United States.

The permanent member most critical of Washington, France, has made clear it is not rushing to accommodate US objections.

"If we cannot reach a satisfactory agreement on the ICC between now and the end of the week we should extend the mandate (of the UN mission in Bosnia) one last time - until 31 December," a French foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

But the French have indicated that they would not use their veto.

That is not to say that the United States will get the nine votes it needs to get the resolution adopted.

Equality

The compromise would still mean the Security Council amending an international treaty ratified by nearly eighty countries.

International Criminal Court
Launched on 1 July and due to start work early in 2003
Aims to prosecute for atrocities committed anywhere in the world
Shunned by Washington but backed by most UN Security Council members

Several members have serious doubts about that, as does the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

The United States wants to make use of an article in the treaty establishing the court that allows the council to delay prosecutions on a case-by-case basis.

But that was designed to make sure that legal action did not disrupt delicate peace negotiations, not to give effective immunity to one set of people.

What was at stake, the Canadian ambassador said, was whether everyone was equal and accountable before the law.

See also:

10 Jul 02 | Americas
01 Jul 02 | Americas
01 Jul 02 | Europe
01 Jul 02 | Americas
01 Jul 02 | In Depth
06 May 02 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes