BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
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
Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
US rejects EU criminal court guidelines
UN peacekeeper in Bosnia
The EU has agreed to immunity for US troops
The United States has said the European Union does not go far enough with its guidelines for dealing with American citizens wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The guidelines, drawn up by EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, would allow individual EU states to negotiate limited immunity deals for US soldiers and diplomats with Washington.

Judge Lloyd Williams of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
The ICC would replace individual war crimes tribunals
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that the guidelines were "a positive and constructive way forward".

But he added that the US would continue to seek agreements for all its nationals on foreign soil to be immune from prosecution.

Other conditions include the US agreeing to its citizens being prosecuted on American soil if accused of serious crimes abroad.

Washington has so far refused to support the ICC, arguing that it could be used as a forum to persecute US nationals for politically-motivated reasons.

Conditions

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said on Monday that EU member states will be allowed to make bilateral deals with the US, as long as the arrangements:

  • apply only to US soldiers or officials sent abroad;
  • include agreement from the US that Americans accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity will be dealt with by US courts;
  • And are not reciprocal, so that EU citizens are not granted immunity in return.

Correspondents say this position is an attempt to bridge the gap between the US, which wants to ensure that none of its citizens is ever prosecuted by the new ICC, and the Europeans, who want to strengthen the court's credibility.

Britain and Italy have both said they will look into signing bilateral agreements with the US.

Meets US demands?

Diplomats say the EU's immunity would not cover mercenaries or retired officials.

Washington, fearing politically-motivated trials, has insisted that no American should ever be handed over to the ICC - and has been approaching countries around the world to sign immunity deals.

Twelve non-EU countries - mostly small or poor - have signed such deals so far, promising not to hand over US citizens on their territory to the new court.

Human rights campaigners have accused Britain in particular of being ready to undermine the court, rather than have a serious clash with the US.

Germany, on the other hand, which recently defied US calls for action in Iraq by insisting it would not participate in any attack there, has said it would not be signing any deal with the US on the ICC.

See also:

04 Sep 02 | Europe
14 Aug 02 | Americas
13 Jul 02 | Americas
11 Jul 02 | Americas
01 Jul 02 | Americas
13 Jul 02 | Europe
Internet links:


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

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


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe 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