Excerpt of Secretary of State Colin Powell's interview, in which he talks about the US withdrawal from the ICC.

Interview on ABC's. This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.

MR. DONALDSON: Mr. Secretary, we only have 15 seconds left, but I want to ask you if it's true that the United States will withdraw its signature from the treaty setting up an international criminal court.

SECRETARY POWELL: Within the next day or so, the United States will notify the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, that we will not ratify, have no intention of ratifying, the International Criminal Court Treaty.

President Clinton signed it on the last day you could sign it, December 31st of the year 2000. But President Clinton, when he signed it, notified the world that the United States had no intention of sending it up for ratification, nor would he recommend to the incoming administration, the Bush administration, that we would send it up for ratification. Since we have no intention of ratifying it, it is appropriate for us, because we have such serious problems with the ICC, to notify the Depository Secretary General that we do not intend to ratify it; therefore, we are no longer bound in any way to its purpose and objective.

It was an effort to try to find a way to create a criminal court that could deal with the kinds of war crimes that the United States abhors. We are the leader in the world with respect to bringing people to justice. We have supported a tribunal for Yugoslavia, the tribunal for Rwanda, trying to get the tribunal for Sierra Leone set up. We have the highest standards of accountability of any nation on the face of the earth.

But the ICC, where prosecutors and a court beholden to no higher authority, not beholden to the Security Council, not beholden to anyone else, and which would have the authority to second-guess the United States after we have tried somebody and take it before the ICC, we found that this was not a situation that we believe was appropriate for our men and women in the armed forces or our diplomats and political leaders. And it is for that reason we will be notifying the Depository Secretary General, the term of art, that the United States does not intend to ratify the ICC.

MR. DONALDSON: Secretary Powell, thanks very much for joining us.

Please come back.

SECRETARY POWELL: You're welcome.


[Source: Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State - May 5, 2002]

International Criminal Court

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This document has been published on 18Sep02 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights