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From the September 2003 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 50, No. 9)

Viewpoints

The United States vs. the International Criminal Court

Comment and analysis from Athens, Port-of-Spain, Lima, Kingston, Sofia, and Rio de Janeiro

Athens Kathimerini (conservative), July 3: Intense reactions have greeted Washington’s unprecedented decision to cut military aid to 35 countries because of their refusal to sign an agreement that would bar the extradition of American citizens to the newly established International Criminal Court. The Bush government clarified that it simply wishes to protect the people who serve in the American army....Washington’s decision, though,...is likely to affect its relations with allied countries.

Port-of-Spain Newsday (privately owned, independent), July 3: Regardless of their country’s power, Bush and members of his ultraconservative regime must not be allowed to capriciously dismiss the demands of international law and justice upon which peace and order and the maintenance of a civilized world depend. Nor should they be encouraged in the arrogant idea that their military and economic might entitles them to exercise some kind of hegemony over our planet. Moreover, we consider the excuse which the United States has given for rejecting the International Criminal Court as not only overbearingly specious but also a grievous insult to the world community, the United Nations, and the 90 countries which studied, signed, and ratified the treaty setting up the court.

Lima La República (center-left), July 3: But why has the Bush administration undertaken this war against the International Criminal Court? Because the existence of the court collides directly with its new imperial policies that assume the task of policing the world..., in agreement with the doctrine of “preventive action” formulated by President Bush....One must say that the union of the international community rejects the efforts to grant U.S. soldiers immunity against a denunciation of human-rights violations before the ICC and doesn’t trust this campaign that looks to debilitate a new institution....But this is the way of the new rules that President Bush intends to impose. Even the European Union...has been threatened with “very grave consequences.”

Kingston Jamaica Observer (privately owned, independent), July 3: But the Americans have argued that such a tribunal, established under international law, was not good enough for its citizens....Mr. Bush must be aware of the obvious conclusion: that the United States has set itself up above the law. Indeed, people cannot be blamed if there is a view that America now sees the world only through a prism of power: its own power. So talk loudly, walk heav-ily. No matter who gets crushed. So long as it’s not Uncle Sam, his children, nephews, and nieces. But we do not believe that that is the real perception of our friends, the United States. It is alien to what America has stood for, for too long.

Sofia Trud (large-circulation, independent), June 23: Essentially, Washington is staking a claim to an outrageous feudal privilege, which the old democracies in Europe could not swallow. By deciding not to grant the United States an exemption from the International Criminal Court, Bulgaria re-treated from the humiliating and harmful split between the United States and the European Union that this country had demonstrated during the Iraqi crisis. The decision is good not because it is pro-European but because it is one of prin-ciple and dignity. Let alone that it demands a degree of courage, which our friends across the Danube [the Romanians] could not muster up.
—Nickolay Golemanov

Rio de Janeiro O Globo (centrist), July 2: Besides the fact that the proposed accord is completely contrary to the idea of the International Criminal Court, Brazil already signed the treaty that created the court in the first place. For that reason, under a strict judicial prism, it cannot sign on to a bilateral accord contrary to the commitments it already made. Brazil was one of the first countries to inform the U.S. government that it would not accept the accord....The Defense Ministry said that it was not expecting any American military support this year anyway.

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