Efforts to ease tensions between the U.S. and Old Europe before the president departs for the continent next month don’t seem to be working out. The U.S. is opposed to the EU’s lifting of sanctions against selling arms to China, and Bush is opposed to trying Darfur war crimes in the International Criminal Court.
Last week, the U.S., in rejecting an effort by Britain, France, and other European nations to try Darfur war crimes in the international court, claimed that it has no accountability and can’t be trusted. Said one State Department official: “The ICC is a total non-starter.”
The U.S. does not belong to the court and under Bush is strongly opposed to any involvement. Among other things, the U.S. fears that its own operatives—spies or military personnel—might end up before it, charged with war crimes. That’s a real possibility because the U.S. has narrowed its definition of torture and has adopted procedures at Guantánamo and elsewhere that critics say violate the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners.
For Darfur, the U.S. wants to set up a court in Africa similar to the one set up by the U.N. Security Council that tried war crimes in Rwanda in the early ’90s.
Additional reporting: David Botti and Nicole Duarte