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U.S. Department of State

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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement

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Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
June 22, 1998

U.S. Releases Proposal on Elements of Crimes at the Rome Conference
on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court
The United States strongly supports the establishment of a fair, effective and properly constituted International Criminal Court (ICC). Today in Rome, at the United Nations Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, the United States circulated an important proposal that will strengthen the work of the Court.
The U.S. proposal provides clear, precise and specific definitions of each offense found within the core crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and the most serious war crimes. It also offers an important, legally-binding framework for the Court's prosecutors and defenders.
Precision and clarity in the law is a matter of fundamental fairness. The Court must focus on the core crimes on which there is international consensus. Defining these crimes is essential for clarifying the Court's jurisdiction and protecting the human rights of the accused in future proceedings before this Court. The United States hopes that the Rome Conference will endorse this concept of criminal elements and draw on the U.S. proposal to draft the necessary annex to the statute.
David Scheffer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes issues and head of the U.S. delegation to the Rome Conference, called the U.S. proposal essential to the successful functioning of the proposed International Criminal Court. He thanked the many delegations and NGOs for their input on the U.S. initiative.
A copy of the U.S. proposal can be obtained from the United Nations secretariat. It will be available in the near future on the UN's ICC web site, www.un.org/icc.
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