Despite a compromise offered by the European Union (EU) last week that could exempt US military personnel and diplomats from prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Bush Administration is continuing to press for full exemption of all US citizens, the New York Times reports. A group of top State Department officials left for Europe on Tuesday to urge individual EU member nations to sign broad agreements that would exempt all US citizens from the ICC.
The US is attempting to negotiate deals with 190 countries to effectively bypass the ICC; so far, only 13 countries, including Israel, have signed an agreement, according to the Times. The State Department attempted to negotiate agreements with Great Britain and France last week in preparation for possible military attacks on Iraq, the Times reports. The United States is the only industrialized country that has not signed the treaty establishing the ICC. Amnesty International reports that it has threatened to pull military aid from countries that will not sign exemption agreements.
The Bush administration has strongly opposed the ICC, claiming that it could subject US personnel to politically motivated prosecutions abroad. The ICC has widespread support in the US from groups such as the Feminist Majority because it identifies gender crimes and the crime of apartheid as crimes against humanity. Article 7 of the Rome Statute, which created the court, presents clear language that defines rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity as gender crimes