On Friday President George Bush signed into law the American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002, which will supposedly protect U.S. servicemembers from the International Criminal Court.
The new law authorizes the use of military force to liberate any American or citizen of a U.S.-allied country being held by the court. This provision, dubbed the “Hague invasion clause,” has caused a strong reaction from U.S. allies around the world, particularly in the Netherlands.
The law also provides for the withdrawal of U.S. military assistance from countries ratifying the ICC treaty, and restricts U.S. participation in United Nations peacekeeping unless the United States obtains immunity from prosecution. At the same time, these provisions can be waived by the president on “national interest” grounds.
- Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.