Wednesday, September 04, 2002

What’s New with the ICC?

Another sign that Europe’s governments aren’t as anti-American as some in the media would have us believe is the apparent willingness of the British and Italians to make accommodations with the US regarding exempting its soldiers from persecution before the ICC. As the EUobserver reports, EU foreign ministers meeting in Elsinore this weekend had to make a concerted effort to avoid a rift over the issue.

For the time being, all EU countries will refrain from taking a position on the American request until they receive more feedback from their legal experts. But the mere fact that the Blair and Berlusconi governments are still keeping their options open regarding the opt-out for American soldiers demonstrates that not all Europe is comfortable with the ICC.

Not surprisingly, the most hostile reaction against accepting US demands came from Germany’s Joschka Fischer and Sweden’s rather combative Anna Lindh – never great supporters of the US to start with.

My own view is that the ICC will really never amount to much more than another European tribunal and won’t have much impact among the more powerful players in the world. All in all, it’s little more than another example of Europe’s current and foolish fascination with legalism and humanitarianism.

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