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JEF-Europe >Press Centre >- Archive 2003 >
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EU compromise on ICC Damages Hopes for Universal Justice


JEF Europe expresses its deepest concern over the EU Foreign Ministers' decision to bow to the demands of the United States and compromise on the issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) immunity for US citizens. This decision signals a giant step back from the efforts to achieve global justice.

 

JEF understands the need to sustain good relations with the US, and recognises it as Europe's most important partner at the international level, sharing common goals, interests, and fundamental values.

 

However, JEF strongly believes that the foundation and implementation of the ICC has been by far the most influential step towards an effective rule of law at the international level ever achieved. For the first time, individuals, no matter to which government, army, or group they belong, will be held responsible in front of an international legal institution for violating human rights.

 

The EU's capitulation to US pressure on a such an important matter of principle shows that Europe will remain weak as long as it remains divided and unable to speak with one voice. As a democratic country, based on the rule of law, the US should have nothing to fear from the ICC structure, which makes it very clear that it will only act if national legal structures are not sufficient or impartial enough to ensure that justice is served. EU Foreign Ministers should have the courage of their convictions on the ICC and maintain Europe's support for international justice.

 

"The EU's compromise undermines the basic foundations of the International Criminal Court, and threatens its ability to fulfil its task to punish all violations of human rights, without exception. The EU's current inability to stand up to external pressure shows more than ever the need for a strong and united European voice in the world," said Alison Weston, President of JEF Europe.

 

JEF condemns the EU's decision to give permission to its member states to sign bilateral agreements with the United States on the ICC immunity. The EU's compromise drastically and permanently weakens the ICC, gives a very bad example to the world, and provides a window of hope to those who believe they can abuse human rights with impunity.

 


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