U.S. Concludes Art. 98 Agreement with Albania and Presses Macedonia

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Tuesday, July 1, 2003
Bruce Zagaris
On May 2, 2003, the U.S. Government announced the conclusion of an Article 98 agreement with Albania that exempts U.S. nationals from prosecution by the International Criminal Court. Meanwhile, the U.S. is pressing other countries to conclude Article 98 agreements, including Macedonia. Albania become the 32nd country to sign an article 98 agreement with the U.S. during a visit to Tirana by Colin Power, the U.S. Secretary of State. The agreement with Albania was broad: it commits Albania not to extradite any U.S. national to the ICC whereas the EU guidelines issued last year advised that any agreements should provide exemptions only applying to U.S. officials sent on state business. Albania is likely to become the first European country to conclude an agreement with the U.S. Its parliament still must ratify the agreements. Romania signed an article 98 agreement with the U.S., but its parliament has delayed the ratification process. The bulk of the 193 countries that signed the Rome Treaty, including all 15 EU members, have resisted similar pressure from the U.S. The U.S. will also press the U.N. to extend for another one year the exemption granted to U.S. nationals from jurisdiction of the ICC. The first one-year exemption will expire in June and the U.N. Security Council must again consider extending the exemption.