U. N. Votes To Send Any Sudan War Crime Suspects To World Court

Posted on Monday, April 04 at 10:52 by 4Canada
"We didn't cave," said Richard A. Grenell, the spokesman for the United States mission. "We got the full protection for Americans that we sought." Anne W. Patterson, the deputy United States ambassador to the United Nations, said, "We decided not to oppose the resolution because of the need of the international community to work together in order to end the climate of impunity in Sudan." She added, however, referring to the court, "We have not dropped and indeed continue to maintain our longstanding and firm objections and concerns regarding the I.C.C." The vote followed days of trans-Atlantic negotiation involving Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and France's foreign minister, Michel Barnier, and produced an 11th- hour maneuver that secured agreement when Britain replaced France as the sponsor of the measure. The outcome spared the United States the onus of casting a veto and seeming to block the arrest and prosecution of war crimes suspects, steps it has been insisting are essential to begin reining in the violence in Darfur. It was the third Sudan resolution in the Council in a week after two months of delay that had raised a clamor of criticism against the panel over its inaction. On March 24, the Council unanimously passed a measure establishing a 10, 715-member force to shore up a peace agreement in the south of the country and lend assistance to the 2,000 African Union troops in Darfur. On Tuesday, the panel voted 12 to 0 with three abstentions to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on individuals who commit atrocities or break cease-fire agreements. The conflict in Darfur is estimated to have displaced 2.4 million people and cost the lives of up to 300,000 black African villagers. Pro-government Arab militias, including those known as janjaweed, have been blamed for most of the violence, including rape, murder and arson. Though the United States has been in the forefront of calling for action in Darfur, it balked over the judicial issue when a United Nations commission returned from Sudan in January with a recommendation that suspects be sent to the international court. The United States first recommended an alternative court to be set up in Arusha, Tanzania, but the idea drew little support. American objections to the court are based on the view that it is unaccountable and could become a forum for politically motivated prosecutions against Americans abroad. The Clinton administration signed the 1998 Rome treaty setting up the court in December 2000 but the Bush administration revoked the signature in May 2002. John R. Bolton, President Bush's nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, was the official who signed the letter abrogating the American signature and he said afterward that the experience had afforded him "the happiest moment in my government service." In Security Council resolutions in 2002 and 2003, the United States succeeded in gaining immunity for American soldiers participating in United Nations-approved peacekeeping forces from prosecution by the court, but last June it failed to obtain a renewal in the wake of the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq and a strong statement of opposition from Secretary General Kofi Annan. With the United States's objections in mind, the original French draft exempted persons from countries that have not signed the treaty establishing the court from investigation or prosecution by the court. But the United States pressed for stronger guarantees. The key concession to the Americans was a clause giving exclusive jurisdiction to troop-contributing states over any of their citizens arrested abroad. This posed a problem for the French sponsors because France had opposed the same language in a previous resolution sending peacekeepers to Liberia. The solution Thursday was to have the British insert that language and take over the sponsorship of the resolution. original: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/01/international/africa/01sudan.html?

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