Exacerbating an already deteriorating reputation in the international community, the United States this week resumed its call for extended immunity from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Today, before a vote on the UN resolution, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the UN Security Council to oppose renewing the exemption, saying repeated immunity would undermine the Council’s authority. ICC advocates argue that the Council lacks power to alter an international treaty.
The Bush administration has strongly opposed the ICC, claiming that it could subject US personnel to politically motivated prosecutions abroad. Last year, the administration demanded full exemption of all US citizens from the ICC and threatening to pull military aid from countries that would not sign exemption agreements, “negotiated” bilateral deals to effectively bypass the court. To date, 37 countries—mostly small, poor nations strongly reliant on international aid—have signed ICC immunity deals (called “Article 98” agreements). The US’s ICC immunity expires July 1, the same day countries that have not signed Article 98 agreements will lose military assistance from the US.
Still, 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 rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity as gender crimes. The United States is the only industrialized country that has not signed the treaty establishing the ICC. Currently, there are 150,000 US troops deployed in Iraq, 9,000 in Afghanistan, and tens of thousands throughout Eurasia and the Gulf region, according to OneWorld US.
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .