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UN Security Council: International justice must not be undermined

The US government has introduced language for Security Council resolutions that would essentially grant immunity from prosecution to peace-keepers, both current and former, except before their national courts. The proposal is being discussed today.

The organisation today wrote to all members of the Security Council urging them to stand firm in their commitment to international justice. Amnesty International urged them not to allow the US government to succeed in attempts to circumvent the safeguards of the Rome Statute of the ICC and other international tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

'On the eve of the entry into force of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the US government is proposing wording that would sabotage the achievements of those that have fought so strongly to obtain justice for the victims of human rights violations.'

Amnesty International is profoundly concerned about the US proposal since the Rome Statute for the ICC, due to enter into force on 1 July, already contains ample safeguards that would protect any United States troops against politically motivated or frivolous prosecutions.

'The Security Council must reject any resolution that would undermine the integrity of the international justice system,' said Amnesty International.

'This could be the most significant decision made for the future of international justice.'

If the Security Council were, in effect, able to amend the ICC's jurisdiction simply by adopting a resolution, it would set a dangerous precedent paving the way for future amendments of the Rome Statute and possibly other international treaties by means that circumvent the safeguards provided in each treaty

Amnesty International is strongly opposed to any changes to the jurisdiction of existing international tribunals and to any attempt to limit the jurisdictions of national courts over war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed by peace-keepers or anyone else.

Furthermore, there are already some indications that this is not the final demand from the US government with respect to the ICC. A number of US officials have expressed concern about the definitions of certain war crimes in the Rome Statute and their application to multilateral peace-keeping operations.

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