18th Nov 2017

Court row continues to strain EU-US relations

Relations between the EU and the US have hit their lowest point since George Bush came to office according to the Spanish daily El Pais. Differences of opinion over the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is just the latest in a catalogue of differences between the US and the EU.

Quoted in El Pais, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana, called for the ICC to have "universal jurisdiction," and added that it should affect states, such as the US, who do not accept it. Official sources close to Mr Solana appear resolute. "We cannot take a step backwards because the decision of the EU is unshakeable."

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EU Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, is adamant the EU will not give up on the Court: "the ICC is the most important advance in international law since the establishment of the UN and we are not going to allow anyone to water down our commitment to the principle."

Often viewed as Washington's closest ally, UK Prime Mister Tony Blair, recently demonstrated his support for the ICC, along with other European members of the Security Council, Ireland and France, when all three voted against the US, who vetoed the renewal of the UN mandate in Bosnia.

According to a EU joint communiqué, in vetoing the resolution the US "has put the members of the security council in a difficult position with respect to fulfilment of their obligations under the statute of the International Criminal Court."

Although the EU has warned that the basic principles of the ICC are 'non-negotiable' German Chancellor Gerhard Schöder has not ruled out the possibility of a compromise between the EU and the US before the Security Council meets again on the 15th of July.

Such a compromise is likely to include a greater role for the European Union forces in Serbia, in order to calm US fears that American troops could become the target of politically motivated prosecutions.


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