World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Bosnia-Herzegovina should reject US impunity plan

Bosnia-Herzegovina: The government should reject US impunity agreement

As the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina considers giving in to United States (US) pressures to sign an illegal impunity agreement with the US, Amnesty International urges the authorities to uphold its obligations as a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court by rejecting such an agreement. "No one, regardless of their nationality, should enjoy impunity for the worst crimes known to humanity, Amnesty International said.

The Bosnian Presidency reportedly plans to sign the agreement with the US today during the visit of US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. The agreement would commit the government not to surrender US nationals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to the new International Criminal Court (ICC).

"These agreements are illegal as they violate Bosnia-Herzegovina's duty to cooperate with the International Criminal Court and the obligations of all states to ensure that people responsible for these crimes, as the most serious crimes under international law, are brought to justice," Amnesty International stressed.

In recent weeks, US authorities have put intense pressure on the government to sign, threatening to withdraw military assistance unless an agreement is concluded by 1 July 2003 as provided by a US law enacted last year, attacking the International Criminal Court, called the American Servicemembers Protection Act.

The American Servicemembers Protection Act, while it does provide for withdrawal of military assistance if states which do not sign impunity agreements by 1 July 2003, also contains broad provision for waiving such measures.

Amnesty International reminds the Bosnian authorities of the guiding principles adopted by the European Union on impunity agreements, which state "[e]ntering into US agreements - as presently drafted - would be inconsistent with ICC States Parties' obligations with regard to the ICC Statute ..."

"Instead of acting alone and giving in to US pressure to secure impunity for its citizens, the government should seek to ally itself with the vast majority of states who are refusing to bow to such pressure in favour of upholding international justice," Amnesty International said.

If the government does sign an agreement today, Amnesty International would call on each member of parliament in Bosnia-Herzegovina urging that Parliament refuse approval of ratification of the agreement.


The US initiative is part of a worldwide campaign to undermine the International Criminal Court and ensure impunity for US nationals. As of 16 May 2003, only 28 states are known to have signed impunity agreements and parliaments in only two states have approved ratification of impunity agreements.

The USA is demanding that any person accused of these crimes should be returned to the USA, without any commitment that they will be prosecuted by US courts and without any recourse if US courts fail to fulfil their responsibilities. In fact, in many cases US courts will not be able to do so as US law does not include many of the crimes under international law as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

On 11 April 2002 Bosnia-Herzegovina became a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which has been ratified by 90 states.

The International Criminal Court is in the process of being established and will become operational later this year.

More information about the US impunity agreement

View all documents on Bosnia-Herzegovina

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news