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UN: Pressing For War Crime Immunity Unwise


Pressing for immunity from war crime prosecutions ‘unwise’, Annan says

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said that continuing to grant peacekeepers participating in United Nations operations immunity from potential prosecution by the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal had the potential to hurt the credibility of both the Security Council and the UN itself.

“[The] blanket exemption is wrong. It is of dubious judicial value, and I don't think it should be encouraged by the Council,” Mr. Annan said in reply to questions by reporters at UN Headquarters in New York on the renewal of a resolution set to expire on 30 June.

First adopted by the Council in July 2002 and renewed last year, the resolution effectively shields members of UN peacekeeping missions from nations that have not ratified the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) – from investigation or prosecution.

The United States, which originally signed the Rome treaty but did not ratify it, introduced a text last month seeking to renew the exemption for a third consecutive year.

“For the past two years, I have spoken quite strongly against the exemption, and I think it would be unfortunate for one to press for such an exemption, given the prisoner abuse in Iraq,” Mr. Annan said. “I think in this circumstance it would be unwise to press for an exemption, and it would be even more unwise on the part of the Security Council to grant it.”

Such as move “would discredit the Council and the United Nations that stands for rule of law and the primacy of rule of law,” he said.

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