- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

The United States will tell the United Nations this week that it is renouncing formal involvement in a treaty creating the first permanent war-crimes tribunal, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday.
The Bush administration will notify U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the United States has no intention of ratifying the treaty and considers itself "no longer bound in any way to its purpose and objective," Mr. Powell said on ABC's "This Week."
The International Criminal Court gained the necessary international backing to come into being when 10 nations joined 56 others last month in announcing their ratification of the treaty negotiated in Rome in 1998.
President Clinton signed the treaty but never submitted it to the Senate for ratification. The Bush administration has made its opposition clear.
A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Saturday that opposition was expected to be formalized today in a speech by Marc Grossman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, and at a news briefing by Pierre-Richard Prosper, the State Department's ambassador at large for war-crimes issues.
The United States cites concerns for American citizens, arguing that safeguards against frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. soldiers and officials are not sufficient.
The court, to be formed this summer without U.S. participation, will play a role that has been handled by ad hoc tribunals since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials for World War II's German and Japanese war criminals.
Tribunals have been created for other special situations such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide and war crimes in former Yugoslavia.
"We are the leader in the world with respect to bringing people to justice," Mr. Powell said. "But we found that this was not a situation that we believed was appropriate for our men and women in the armed forces or our diplomats and political leaders."

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