U.S. Still Lacks Votes on Immunity from Global Court
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U.S. Still Lacks Votes on Immunity from Global Court
Jun 23, 11:04 AM (ET)

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States apparently failed to win crucial backing on Wednesday for a compromise U.N. resolution to exempt U.S. soldiers from international prosecution, diplomats said.

Faced with mounting criticism of U.S. abuses of prisoners in Iraq, the United States on Tuesday proposed to amend a Security Council resolution exempting U.S. personnel from prosecution by the International Criminal Court to get the needed support.

Instead of pressing for an open-ended renewal of the resolution, first adopted in 2002, U.S. officials said they would not press for a renewal of the measure after June 2005.

But on Wednesday, key diplomats said no nation had changed its stance in the 15-member council, raising the possibility the Bush administration might withdraw the measure.

Ambassador Lauro Baja of the Philippines, this month's council president, whose country supports the resolution, told reporters he doubted the Bush administration had secured the minimum nine "yes" votes needed for adoption.

No member is expected to veto or vote against the resolution but if more than six countries abstain, the measure would fail.

The new court, based in the Hague, Netherlands, and largely financed by Europeans, is to try individuals responsible for the world worst atrocities, including genocide, war crimes and systematic human rights abuses-- a belated effort to fulfill the promise of the Nuremberg trials that prosecuted Nazi leaders after World War II.

But the Bush administration opposes on principle an international court having jurisdiction over American soldiers abroad. It argues the court would hinder global peacekeeping obligations, although the tribunal can only hear complaints against a person from a nation that was unable or unwilling to press charges.

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