SATURDAY
January 6, 2001
volume 12, no. 6
Clinton Signs ICC Treaty, Handcuffing Presidential Successors


    NEW YORK, Jan. 5, 01 (CWNews.com/C-fam.org) - With only eight hours to go before the midnight deadline on New Year's Eve, representatives of US President Bill Clinton met with UN officials at UN headquarters in New York and signed the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, making the US the 139th country to sign a document to establish a permanent criminal tribunal.

    While signing the treaty, Clinton said he was not forwarding the treaty to the US Senate for ratification and was urging his successor George W. Bush also to withhold the document for approval. He said he signed the document so that the US could maintain its negotiating position while the document is finalized in the weeks ahead. And also so that the US could participate in future deliberations of the Assembly of States Parties which the treaty will bring into existence.

    Sources within the US State Department, speaking on conditions of anonymity, contest President Clinton's claims. They insist the US can now and will always be able to participate in court action. Because the ICC document is being negotiated in a series of preparatory committee meetings within the General Assembly, any member of the GA can participate, even those who never sign the treaty. They also point out that as a signatory to the 1998 Rome conference that initiated the ICC process, the US is guaranteed a seat at the court as an observer, even if the US never ratifies the treaty.

    The State Department sources point out the real effect of President Clinton signing the document-- to handcuff incoming President Bush and all future presidents. Under the 1969 Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, a signatory to a treaty should do nothing that is inconsistent with the "object and purpose of the treaty." If incoming President Bush, or any future president, decides to attempt to prevent the controversial court from coming into existence, the US would be in violation of the Vienna Convention.

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January 6, 2001
volume 12, no. 6
News on the Church in the USA



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