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.
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. . . .
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .