- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2001

The House will vote today on a Republican proposal to withhold U.S. aid from any nation that approves of prosecuting U.S. military personnel in a new International Criminal Court (ICC).
The legislation, introduced by House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, would prohibit the United States from letting U.S. service members be extradited for international prosecution as war criminals.
It would also prohibit U.S. forces from taking part in any U.N. peacekeeping operation unless they have been exempted from prosecution in the ICC.
"We have a responsibility to ensure that American soldiers are not brought before an international tribunal, easily guided by political considerations and vendettas, where they could be prosecuted and imprisoned for simply carrying out orders," Mr. DeLay said in a statement.
President Clinton signed the treaty establishing the ICC on Dec. 31, despite strong objections from the Pentagon about the threat it created to U.S. military personnel. Mr. Clinton did not submit the pact to the Senate for ratification, nor has President Bush.
Sens. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, and Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, are expected to introduce a similar measure in the Senate today.
U.S. military forces could be brought before the international court even if the United States is not a party to the treaty. Mr. DeLays measure seeks to prevent that.
The provision would:
* Prohibit U.S. military assistance to any nation that participates in the ICC. The president could waive this restriction if the country agrees not to prosecute U.S. personnel.
* Authorize the president to use "any means necessary" to bring about the release of U.S. or allied personnel imprisoned by the ICC.
* Bar the transfer of any classified information to the court.
A letter to Mr. DeLay last November signed by several former secretaries of defense and state, including current Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, called his provision "an appropriate response to the threat to American sovereignty and international freedom of action posed by the" ICC.
The measure will be offered during a floor debate as the House decides whether to withhold payment of U.S. dues to the United Nations.
Two former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations yesterday cautioned that the initiative, undertaken in retaliation for the U.S. loss of its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, was misguided.
"I do not support withholding dues to the United Nations. It is not useful," said Jeane Kirkpatrick, ambassador to the United Nations under President Reagan. "It is not the United Nations, but the member states who vote. It is an inappropriate kind of statement."
Bill Richardson, ambassador to the United Nations under President Clinton, agreed.
"I do not think it makes sense to cut U.N. dues. It just gives more ammunition to the repressive regimes. It will be counterproductive and an albatross around the neck of the new ambassador. It does not send the right signal," he said.
The ambassadors were speaking at a Freedom House forum on Capitol Hill to address the cause and results of the United States being voted off the U.N. Human Rights Commission last week.
Both attributed the loss of the U.S. seat to a failure of U.S. diplomacy to secure the seat, a lobbying campaign by the worlds leading human rights violators to punish the United States, and resentment from U.S. allies in Europe over U.S. power, wealth and influence beyond its borders.
But an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute said the actions of the Human Rights Commission underscore the case against the war-crimes court.
"The United Nations Human Rights Commission has a long history of hypocrisy … and that hypocrisy is a reminder of how dangerous it would be for the United States to enter the International Criminal Court," said Joshua Muravchik, a specialist on human rights.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide