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Say "no" to US attack on international justice

ICC: Say "no" to US attack on international justice


* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

17 September 2002 IOR 10/005/2002

Amnesty International today launched a worldwide petition in response to US attacks against the new system of international justice.

In recent months, the US has been approaching governments requesting them to enter into unlawful agreements that they will not surrender US nationals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to the new International Criminal Court. In many cases, the US government is threatening to withdraw military assistance from countries that will not agree.

Already four states - East Timor, Israel, Romania and Tajikistan - have signed these impunity agreements.

Amnesty International's petition -- http://web.amnesty.org/web/icc_petition.nsf -- calls on all states to refuse to sign such impunity agreements with the US.

The petition will be open for signature for one month and will be sent to governments worldwide. Signatures received by 27 September will also be sent to EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs in advance of their meet on 30 September to consider their position on the issue.

Background The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force on 1 July 2002. As of 15 September 2002, 79 states had ratified it; 139 states have signed it. The USA has been the only state actively to oppose the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Since the adoption of the Rome Statute in July 1998, the USA has sought an exemption for US nationals from the jurisdiction of the Court.

Amnesty International, other NGOs and governments have repeatedly demonstrated that US fears that the Court could be used for politically motivated prosecutions against US nationals have no basis since the Rome Statute contains substantial safeguards and fair trial guarantees.

For more information see Amnesty International's report http://www.web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/recent/ior400252002 which examines the US impunity agreements.

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