Subject: Lusa: Accord signed with US on exemption from ICC

27-08-2002 15:17:00 GMT Invalid Hora local. Notícia 4040491

East Timor: Accord signed with US on exemption from ICT

The Timorese government has signed an agreement with the United States that gives exemption to American soldiers from being tried by the International Crimes Tribunal, which will try war crimes.

Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta told Lusa that Dili signed the accord with the US last Friday and the decision was taken in the light of a Security Council resolution approved in July - exempting US troops from being tried by the new court for one year.

"We asked that the agreement with the US made reference to the Security Council resolution", said Ramos Horta, who added that without the resolution, "the situation would be different".

The ITC was set up under the Rome Protocol, which the US, among other countries, refuses to sign, fearing its troops could be charged with war crimes after future military actions or peacekeeping operations.

Washington vetoed the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia in June and later threatened to pull out its military observers from Timor. Soon after, the Security Council unanimously approved the resolution giving US troops one year`s immunity from the ITC.

The US is attempting to establish agreements with individual nations on exemption from ITC juristiction and Timor is the third country to sign such a deal. Romania and Israel have already signed accords with Washington.

CJB/ASP -Lusa-

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