- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2000

Canada hits Congress

Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy is taking on powerful voices in the U.S. Congress over the proposed International Criminal Court.
Mr. Axworthy, in a speech at the Canadian Embassy last week, criticized Congress for efforts to cut off military aid to countries that ratify the court and to exempt U.S. troops from its jurisdiction.
"It is hard to imagine a case in which such a great democracy would not be part of bringing war criminals to justice," he said.
Mr. Axworthy dismissed fears in Congress that the court could be misused to try American troops on trumped-up charges of war crimes.
"The statute as it stands contains ample safeguards against politically motivated prosecutions," he said, referring to the Rome Statute that establishes the court.
"Americans have nothing to fear from a permanent international criminal court. Only the likes of [Serbian warlord] Radovan Karadic and [Sierra Leonean rebel leader] Foday Sankoh need worry."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, are sponsoring bills to cut off military aid to countries that ratify the court and to authorize any "necessary" means to free any U.S. soldiers arrested under the authority of the court.
Mr. Axworthy said the United States would be blamed for undermining the court if it seeks an exemption for its troops.
"It could also reduce others' commitments to the court and weaken its ability to carry out its sole purpose to hold those responsible for the worst acts of inhumanity accountable for their deeds," he said.
"If the court fails to receive the necessary support, what message does that send to the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity about what they can get away with? More important, what message does this send to their victims?"
Mr. Axworthy also used his speech to explain Canada's new approach to foreign affairs, which he calls a "human security agenda" to focus on the rights of individuals above national sovereignty.
"Protecting civilians, war-affected children, the threat of terrorism and of drugs, open borders and infectious disease are now about the integral aspects of the [foreign policy] dialogue," he said.
"This shift in language reflects a change in perception a recognition that the needs of the individuals must be our principal concern."

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, who begins a state visit. He meets President Clinton tomorrow and attends a White House dinner. He will receives an honorary doctorate of law from George Washington University.
Jorge Quiroga, vice president of Bolivia, and Jose Angel Gurria Trevino, secretary of finance and public credit of Mexico. They attend a World Bank conference on "Economic Insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Chile's finance minister, Nicolas Eyzaguirre, and economics minister, Jose de Gregorio. They attend the World Bank Latin-Caribbean conference.
Hipolito Mejia, president-elect of the Dominican Republic, who discusses relations with the United States at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
King Mswati III of Swaziland, who is is the guest speaker at the 2nd Biannual African African-American Summit on Thursday. He also meets Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright this week.
Lord Sainsbury, Britain's minister for science and innovations, who meets President Clinton's science and technology adviser, Neal Lane, on Wednesday.
Inge Genefke of Denmark's International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, who testifies at a congressional hearing on torture in Europe at 10 a.m. in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
John Nkomo of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, who speaks to invited guests of the Constituency for Africa to defend Zimbabwe's confiscation of land from white farmers and attacks on the political opposition.

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