UN regrets US decision to cut peacekeepers
The United Nations has expressed regret at the US
Government's decision to begin withdrawing peacekeepers from some UN missions
because of the Security Council's refusal to approve blanket immunity from the International
Criminal Court (ICC).
The Pentagon has said seven personnel will be removed from
the UN mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia and two liaison officers will be
withdrawn from the Kosovo mission.
But 2,000 US troops will stay in Kosovo because they are
covered under a separate immunity agreement.
"Our Department of Peacekeeping confirmed it has been
informed it [the United States] would withdraw some personnel from some UN
peacekeeping operations," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
"We have taken note of that decision with regret."
The Bush administration is bitterly opposed to the new court
and rescinded former president Bill Clinton's signature to the tribunal's
statutes, arguing that it would expose US soldiers and officials to frivolous
"In these two particular cases it was determined ...
that the risk was not appropriate to our forces, and so they were
withdrawn," Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said.
Mr Di Rita said that all UN peacekeeping missions with a US
presence are under review.
On June 23, the US withdrew a UN resolution to renew the
blanket exemption, which expired on July 1, after it became clear it lacked the
votes to pass it.
UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said the resolution violated
Richard Dicker, counsel for Human Rights Watch, said:
"US service members were not at risk This move provides no additional
protection. It is driven by ideology."
Nations ratifying the treaty can turn their own citizens, as
well as citizens from other states, over to the court for a crime committed on
Neither Ethiopia nor Eritrea has ratified the treaty and
Kosovo is under UN jurisdiction.