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White House allows military aid to countries not party to ICC immunity accords

[JURIST] The White House announced [memorandum text] Monday that the Bush administration will allow US military aid for nearly two dozen countries that have not signed so-called Article 98 agreements [State Department backgrounder] which shield US soldiers from prosecution before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST news archive]. The bilateral agreements provide that neither party to a specific accord will bring the other’s current or former government officials, military or other personnel before the jurisdiction of the Court, citing Article 98 (2) [text] of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, which provides in part that the ICC may not proceed with a request for surrender which would require the requested country to violate its obligations under international agreements regarding surrendering a person of that country to the ICC unless the ICC first obtains the that country's consent for the surrender. Although the American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002 [text] halts military aid to non-signators of Article 98, it also gives the president the authority to waive such restrictions.

The ICC, to which over 100 states are currently parties, tries individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The US, which has not joined the ICC, believes the court could be used to prosecute US officials, military personnel and others for political reasons. AFP has more.

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