Bush Waives Article 98 Sanctions
Peggy and I have both noted a subtle erosion in the Bush adminstration’s opposition to the ICC. See, for example, here and here. That erosion continued today, as President Bush announced that he was using his authority under Section 2007 of the American Servicemembers Protection Act to permit the U.S. to resume military aid to 21 countries who have refused to sign Article 98 agreements. The countries include Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Kenya, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Namibia, Niger, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, Serbia, South Africa, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.
President Bush deserves credit for allowing pragmatic concerns to temper his opposition to the ICC. Even more deserving of credit, however, are the countries that openly refused to be blackmailed by the U.S. into undermining the Court, nearly all of whom are on the list. Here are some examples:
“[Signing an Article 98 agreement] would go against the multilateral order and against the principles of defense of human rights. … We may be poor, but we have our dignity.” – Costa Rican Foreign Minister Roberto Tovar, September 2005.
“We will not change our principles for any amount of money. We’re not going to [go] belly up for $300,000 in training funds.” – Barbadian ambassador to the Organization of American States Michael I. King, August 2005.
“We will assume any consequences that might result from our signature [of the Rome Statute]. It is a signature that comes from our principles and this government’s political convictions. Whether or not there will be a reduction in U.S. aid is not relevant to us, what is relevant is that our convictions and principles mean something.” – Mexican Presidency spokesman Rubén Aguilar, February 2006.
“Peru will not sign any agreement that impedes it from submitting any country’s citizens to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Peru rejects pressure from any other country on its foreign policy.” – Peruvian Foreign Minister Manuel Rodríguez, August 2004.