Bush Administration Threatens to Withdraw US Peacekeeping Troops if Americans Are Not Exempted from ICC
As the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened its doors in The Hague today, the United States government showed its opposition by casting a vote in the UN Security Council to withdraw American peacekeepers in Bosnia. This vote by US Ambassador John Negroponte, which was diluted with a three-day reprieve, was a show of the Bush administration’s defiance to US allies for their repeated refusals to exempt American peacekeepers from prosecution by the ICC.
“This would create a two-tier system of justice, one for Americans and one for the rest of the world,” Richard Dicker, director of the international justice program of Human Rights Watch told The New York Times. So far, 74 countries have ratified the Rome Treaty – on December 31, 2000 former President Bill Clinton added the US signature, however, President Bush renounced it in May.
The court, created by the Rome Treaty of 1998 to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, has widespread support in the US from groups such as the Feminist Majority because it identifies gender crimes and the crime of apartheid as crimes against humanity. Article 7 of the Rome Statute presents clear language that defines gender crimes as rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity. Under this law, the Taliban’s brutal gender apartheid imposed on the women of Afghanistan would qualify as crimes against humanity and would be eligible to be tried before the ICC.
The launch of the ICC comes at a time when lawsuits are underway about alleged sex trafficking of women as young as 12 by employees of DynCorp, a private defense contractor, in Bosnia. These men, who have not faced criminal charges because of their immunity from Bosnian and US law, could technically have been charged under the ICC, according to Salon.com.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .