From HRW – speaking of war crimes…

The United States recently withheld military assistance from 35 democratic countries because of their resistance to bilateral immunity agreements (BIAs), which exempt U.S. citizens from the first global court to try those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. These agreements, in the form requested by the United States so far, are not only contrary to article 98(2) of the ICC treaty but also to international law as
they defeat the “object and purpose” of the Rome Statute…

Latvia has joined the EU and 9 other EU accession states, as well as a growing group of countries that have reaffirmed their principled stance against impunity by refusing to sign a BIA with the United States. EU’s strong position regarding BIAs was renewed last June 15 with the adoption of a new Common Position that called on EU member states to assist states in withstanding U.S. pressure to sign a BIA.

The United States’ punitive measures often go above and beyond the mere implementation of the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act (ASPA), a piece of anti-ICC legislation passed by Congress last year. A senior Latvian diplomat told Human Rights Watch that the Bush Administration has even decided to withhold $2.7 million in promised supplemental funding to support Latvian troops in Iraq. At the same time, the United States will still financially support Lithuania’s participation in Iraq although additional military aid is still being withheld.

This blackmail (of “New Europe,” no less – or has Latvia become Old Europe since the Iraq War?) is presumably defended by the contention that the International Crimminal Court, the most elaborate, multinational project of its type ever carried out, and with checks and balances often exceeding those of the US Justice system, is hopelessly arbitrary, vindictive, and partisan – unlike the approach for assessing, approaching, and adjudicating threats to international law represented in, say, the Bush Doctrine.

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