ITWASSOOTED: Bush 'Unsigns' War Crimes Treaty

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bush 'Unsigns' War Crimes Treaty

The Bush administration has pulled out of the treaty to establish the International Criminal Court -- a move that is both unprecedented and foolhardy.

The Bush administration Monday formally renounced its obligations as a signatory to the 1998 Rome Statute to establish an International Criminal Court (ICC). Critics say the decision to "unsign" the treaty will further damage the United States' reputation and isolate it from its allies.

"Driven by unfounded fears of phantom prosecutions, the United States has hit a new nadir of isolationism and exceptionalism," said William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International's U.S. section (AIUSA).

A simple three-sentence letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan formally ended U.S. participation in an agreement to create the world's first permanent tribunal to prosecute war crimes, genocide, and other crimes against humanity. In the letter, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton, asserted that Washington "does not intend to become a party to the (Rome Statute of the ICC)" and that it "has no legal obligations arising from its signature (to the treaty) on December 31, 2000."
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