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In Reply to: Bush Picks Kissinger (!) for 9-11 Probe posted by andreas from p3EE3C378.dip.t-dialin.net (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, November 28, 2002 at 1:57AM :
The Guardian (UK)
Official: Int'l Court Worries U.S.
Thursday November 14, 2002 5:20 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Proponents of a new International Criminal Court see the institution as a way to restrain the United States and second- guess its decision-makers, a senior Bush administration official said Thursday.
John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said that constant worry by officials that they may be indicted ``by an unaccountable prosecutor, over time that's going to have an effect on your decision-making.''
``If you're Henry Kissinger and every time you to go this European country or that European country you have to worry if you're going to be served with a subpoena, it has an effect,'' Bolton said referring to the former secretary of state.
Earlier this year protesters in London staged a demonstration outside a hall where Kissinger was speaking, accusing him of war crimes in southeast Asia. Spain wants to question him about his alleged knowledge of a plot by Latin American dictators to eliminate dissidents in the 1970s.
Bolton said such actions explain why the United States is pursuing bilateral accords exempting Americans from trial by the ICC, the first permanent international tribunal to judge individuals for war crimes. It opened in The Hague, the Netherlands, last July.
He said such agreements have been signed with 14 nations so far and hopes that with intensive negotiations under way with dozens of other countries, ``that number will climb substantially..''
Bolton said it was a misconception that the United States wants to use these agreements to undermine the ICC. He said the United States wants to work with court members to find solutions to problems raised by the establishment of the ICC.
Speaking to the Federalist Society, an organization of 25,000 lawyers, law students and scholars that advocates limited government, Bolton said the United States is seeking a clear understanding that any American accused of a war crime will be returned to the United States for trial if warranted.
``It is important to note that we are not seeking immunity for our citizens, but a simple non-surrender agreement as contemplated'' in the treaty that established the ICC, Bolton said.
``We fully commit ourselves, where appropriate, to investigate and prosecute serious, credible allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that we that have been made against any of our citizens,'' he said.
But a fair reading of the treaty that established the ICC, Bolton said, ``leaves one unable to answer with confidence whether the United States would now be accused of war crimes for legitimate but controversial uses of force to protect world peace.''
``No U.S. president or their advisers could be assured that he or she would be unequivocally safe from politicized charges of criminal liability,'' Bolton said.
He said Israel recently decided not to become a party to the ICC because its military operations in the West Bank and Gaza almost certainly would lead to a complaint before the court.
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