London, June 13 (Mehr News Agency) – Despite strong opposition of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the renewal of U.S. troop immunity from International Criminal Court (ICC), UN Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday renewed yet another one-year exemption for U.S. peacekeeping troops from prosecution by the ICC.

France, Germany and Syria abstained while other 12 permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council approved the resolution which exempts the United States for yet another year from the prosecution of the ICC – from July 1. The U.S. was exempted last year, when it threatened that it would veto the extension of peacekeeping forces in Bosnia.

 

Many countries argue that exemption of one state from the prosecution of the court is tantamount to putting the nationals of that country above those of other states which is a sort of neo-racism.

 

Opening the debate on the resolution, Annan warned the council that renewal of the exemption must not become “an annual routine”, for it would weaken the authority of the council, that of the ICC and undermine the legitimacy of peacekeeping forces.

 

The ICC WAS established under the 1998 Rome Statute. It is the first permanent international court to try cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Election of the court's 18 judges and first prosecutor was held in March and April 2003.

 

Defending the soldiers who serve under the UN blue flag, Annan said, no soldier has thus far been charged of committing an offence "anywhere near the kind of crimes that fall under the

jurisdiction of the ICC".

 

The United States had threatened that it would withdraw its peacekeeping forces if the council did not renew its exemption.

 

Thus far 90 countries have ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC.

 

AI/HS/SM

News Code 99

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