International Criminal Court Starts Amid Controversy Over U.S. Exemption

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Thursday, August 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On July 1, 2002 the International Criminal Court started amid controversy over last-minute efforts by the U.S. Government to obtain an exemption for U.S. persons that may be subject to the ICC?s jurisdiction. As the ICC opened, 74 countries had already ratified the Rome Treaty. The European Union is expected to pay three-fourths of the budget, initially expected to be $30 million annually. The Netherlands has pledged 10 years of free rent and $70 million of starting costs. The Dutch Government will build a permanent headquarters on the outskirts of The Hague, which will be completed in approximately 2007. The ICC will have a prison, legal library, hospital and other facilities on the site of a military barracks. Once complete, its skeleton staff is expected to expand to 400. On June 30, the U.S. exercised its veto against a Security Council resolution extending the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, but then agreed to a three-day extension. The resolution affected two forces in Bosnia, a 1,500-member U.N. police training mission, and the 18,000-member NATO-led peacekeeping mission. The NATO force could continue, but the former force would have to be ended. During the third week of June 2002, the U.S. warned that it would not participate in peacekeeping missions unless the Security Council passed the resolution it proposed. The U.S. is seeking three types of protections for its military personnel and civilian government officials: a Security Council resolution granting blanket immunity to U.S. persons participating in U.N. peacekeeping mission; bilateral agreements with countries around the world guaranteeing that U.S. persons on their territory would not be transferred to the ICC without U.S. Government consent; and adjustments to currents Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) to reflect the U.S.?s requirements with respect to the ICC.