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First International Criminal Court’s Jurisdiction on Crimes Against Women Is Weakened by USA

On June 29th the U.S. succeeded in implementing one of its three pronged strategies to weaken the International Criminal Court (ICC), the first international court to include gender crimes as crimes against humanity. The U.S. has been pushing over the past two years a series of proposals that would provide a 100 percent exemption for U.S. military personnel and peacekeepers from the ICC’s jurisdiction even if they were suspected of sadistic crimes against women. On the next to final day of three weeks of high level meetings at the United Nations regarding the ICC, the U.S. won an agreement that excludes U.S. military personnel from facing charges taken before the ICC until the U.S. ratifies the treaty establishing the ICC. The treaty, known as the Rome Statute, was created in July 1998. The U.S. has refused to ratify the treaty. The ICC is set to become a working international treaty in the year 2002.

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Jesse Helms (R-NC) will not allow the ICC to come to a Senate floor vote without a military exemption. For a treaty to be ratified, it must be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and by a 2/3 vote of the Senate.

The Feminist Majority Foundation supports the establishment of the International Criminal Court as an important institute for ensuring human rights globally-especially the rights of women and girls.

The Feminist Majority Foundation is a member of the Washington Working Group and the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice in a collaborative effort to ensure the establishment of the ICC.

Sources:

New York Times and Coalition for an International Criminal Court - 30 June 2000