11/20/2005

The infamous "Article 98" is radioactive

The US has thrown away 1000 lines of communication with foreign military sources and long standing alliances with more than 20 countries to put US servicemen above international law.

The amount of ill will among traditional US allies (nations, military organizations and individuals) that this has caused cannot be overestimated.


ICC country map

From Wikipedia on the ICC

"Article 98" agreements

The U.S. has attempted to pressure other states into signing bilateral agreements with it by holding it as a condition of receiving military and economic aid. In 2003 the U.S. stopped military aid for 35 countries (among them nine European countries). U.S. law requires the cessation of such aid payments if a state is unwilling to sign the bilateral agreement (there are exceptions for NATO-members and allies such as Israel, Egypt, Australia and South Korea).

Article 98 of the Rome Statute provides that a country need not hand over a foreign national to the Court if it is prohibited from doing so by an agreement with that national's country. The U.S. has used this measure in an attempt to exempt its nationals from the Court's jurisdiction, by negotiating agreements with State Parties making use of Article 98. As of may 2005, the US has negotiated 100 article 98 agreements.

Amnesty International and the European Commission Legal Service, along with several other groups supporting the ICC, have claimed that these agreements the U.S. is attempting to negotiate are not valid under Article 98. They argue that the language in Article 98 is normally used in international law to refer to Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA), mission agreements and extradition treaties; hence they claim that Article 98 can only be used for these purposes, and not to create a general exclusion of another states nationals from being handed over to the ICC.

Romania and Israel (even though the latter is not a party to the Statute) were the first to sign Article 98 agreements with the U.S. In response to Romania's action, the European Union requested that candidate countries not sign Article 98 agreements with the United States until the EU ministers had met to agree upon a common position. The U.S. State Department called this action inappropriate. ICC supporters countered that the United States was attempting to use issues of military aid and NATO membership to "bully" other countries into signing.

Finally, in October 2002, the Council of the European Union adopted a common position, permitting member states to enter into Article 98 agreements with the United States, but only concerning U.S. military personnel, U.S. diplomatic or consular officials, and persons extradited, sent to their territories by the United States with their permission; not the general protection of U.S. nationals that the U.S. sought; furthermore the common position provided that any person protected from ICC prosecution by such agreements would have to be prosecuted by the United States. This was in agreement with the original position of the EU, that Article 98 agreements were allowed to cover these restricted classes of persons but could not cover all the citizens of a state.

On December 26, 2002, India became the 15th country to sign a bilateral agreement with the U.S. under Article 98. The agreement aims to prevent the "extradition of nationals of either country to any international tribunal without the other country's express consent". By June 2005 around 100 states had signed a bilateral agreement with the U.S., including at least seven of them that signed the agreement secretly.

Critics of these US policies to contain the Court claim that the sole aim of the USA is to be above international law.

The United States has cut aid and development funding for many poor countries in retaliation for cooperating with the ICC. Countries who have lost aid include Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, South Africa, and several other Latin American and African countries.

Mexico too defies US on ICC

The damage is huge and lasting.

And Romania, having signed an Article 98, seems a good candidate for the secret CIA prisons.

Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

by Shockwave on Sun Nov 20, 2005 at 03:02:46 PM CST

Daily Kos :: Comments Afternoon open thread, history edition

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