Dáil Éireann - Volume 637 - 03 July, 2007
Written Answers. - International Criminal Court.
Deputy P. J. Sheehan Deputy P. J. Sheehan
Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the EU has held recent discussions with the United States regarding recognition of the International Criminal Court by that country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18711/07]
Deputy Dermot Ahern Deputy Dermot Ahern
Deputy Dermot Ahern: The United States maintains what it regards as fundamental concerns in relation to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Although the US signed the Rome Statute in December 2000, in May 2002, it informed the Secretary General of the United Nations that it did not intend to become a party to the Statute, and that accordingly it had no obligations arising from its signature. The objections of the United States to the ICC are based on its view that, because of the independence of the Court’s prosecutor, US citizens and in particular its military forces could be subjected to politically motivated prosecutions.
As I have stated previously, while I recognise these concerns, I do not share them and nor are they shared by our EU partners. The jurisdiction of the ICC is complementary to national jurisdictions, meaning that the Court will become involved in a case only where a state with jurisdiction over a crime is unwilling or unable to carry out a genuine investigation or prosecution. The Rome Statute contains strong and carefully drafted safeguards to prevent politically motivated prosecutions.
The EU has been a consistent and strong supporter of the ICC, and has taken a leading role internationally in promoting the Court. The Council of the European Union, in their Conclusions of 30 September 2002, sought to develop a broader dialogue between the European Union  and the United States on all matters related to the ICC. The EU remains willing to engage in such dialogue and maintains contact with the US on the matter, most recently, in June of this year, when the Legal Adviser to the United States Secretary of State, Mr John Bellinger III, met with the EU Council Working Group on the International Criminal Court in Brussels. The Group, which comprises representatives from each Member State, was established to help develop and promote EU policy on the ICC.
At the meeting in Brussels, Mr. Bellinger restated the position of the United States towards the ICC. However his visit also provided a useful opportunity to discuss a number of related issues, including co-operation with the Court, the use of the Court’s facilities by the Special Court for Sierra Leone and bilateral immunity agreements entered into by the United States, which seek to prevent the surrender of US personnel to the Court. Both sides expressed a willingness to remain in contact on the issue.
Dáil Éireann 637 Written Answers. International Criminal Court.