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The 1997 Labour Party manifesto included a welcome commitment to 'work for the creation of an international criminal court' and in 1998 in negotiations in Rome to create the Court the UK Government played a far more positive role than other permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The fourteen countries that have since moved forward to ratify the Rome Statue to set up the Court include Belgium, Italy and France. The Court cannot be established until 60 countries have ratified the Statue.

National legislation is required to give UK authorities the power to detain and extradite suspects sought by the International Criminal Court. Draft legislation was promised by the Government in the Queen's speech of November 1999 but has yet to be published.

Amnesty International UK Communications Director Mark Lattimer said:

'Having played such a positive role in the negotiations to create the International Criminal Court it is sad the Government has now allowed our world leadership in this area to slip away.

'By publishing a draft bill in this parliamentary session stating its unreserved and practical support for the creation of an International Criminal Court the UK could once again take a lead on this vital issue.'

Further information about the International Criminal Court is available online.

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