Egypt, Tunisia sign secret agreements to exempt Americans from the international criminal court
Egypt–Tunisia, Politics, 6/17/2003
The US Department Of State announced yesterday that other five countries approved to exempt American soldiers from being subject to the International Criminal Court. This came in the day when this court’s power came to effect with the appointment of its first attorney general in his post of office yesterday.
Among the countries which signed a bilateral exemption with Washington are two states. They are Egypt and Tunisia in addition to Mongolia, Nicaragua and Seashell islands.
A document by the US Department Of State said yesterday said that these countries signed the agreements with Washington asking to keep the agreement in secret.
The US Department Of State said last week that several countries which signed the agreements asked not to disclose their names.
Sources at the US Congress said that sources in the Congress notified it concerning the agreement with Egypt which was signed on March 5th.
With these agreements, the number of governments which excluded the Americans from being subject to trial before the International Criminal Court reached 43.
The first attorney general of the International Criminal Court, Louis Morino Okambo, yesterday assumed his post in the Hague, inaugurating thereby the task of the court which considers among its task the protection of human rights violations in the world and deterring war crimes.
As the recent Security Council meeting which extended immunity for United Nations peacekeepers from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced concern that it might become an annual routine that could undermine the tribunal’s and the Council’s authority, as well as the legitimacy of UN peace operations. France, Germany and Syria refused to join in the vote.
The United States is trying to work with its friends “to find practical solutions” to the International Criminal Court (ICC) issue “and preserve everyone’s interests,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Philip T. Reeker said during the daily briefing June 10.
Reeker was responding to a question about a newspaper report that said the United States had warned the European Union not to interfere with its negotiations with other countries on bilateral Article 98 agreements, which aim to ensure that Americans are not brought before the ICC.
“We have been very clear with Europeans and others all around the world that we are not trying to sabotage the ICC,” Reeker said.