The European Union (EU) agreed yesterday to allow its 15 member nations to form bilateral immunity agreements with the United States to exempt US military personnel from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Over the last several months, the US has adamantly called for immunity of all US nationals from prosecution by the court. Under the EU policy, only US military and official personnel are exempt from the ICC. In addition, they must be tried in US courts.
This policy will now pave the way for possible agreements with allied countries such as Britain, Italy, and Spain. However German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer appeared resistant, saying: “What matters is that the Europeans stand together on the basis of a strengthening of the court’s statute. What matters to us is not to assuage anyone,” according to Reuters.
The Bush administration has strongly opposed the ICC, claiming that it could subject US personnel to politically motivated prosecutions abroad. The ICC 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, which created the court, 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.
So far, 81 countries have ratified the Rome Treaty—on December 31, 2000 former President Bill Clinton added the US signature, which President Bush then renounced in May.
Media Resources: NY Times 9/30/02; Human Rights Watch 9/30/02; Reuters 9/30/02; USAforICC.org 10/1/02; ICCnow.org 10/1/02
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .