#16828 - 07/08/03 07:16 AM
Belize loses military aid
Joined: Oct 1999
Belize loses military aid for not
endorsing US exemption from
International Criminal Court
by Adele Ramos
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 3, 2003
Belize is among 35 countries that the United States of
America is sanctioning by the withdrawal of
US$47.6 million in military aid from those countries. The
reason: because they have refused to sign
what the US dubs as "Article 98" agreements that would
exempt US nationals from prosecution in the
International Criminal Court of The Hague in The
Netherlands. The sanctions are called for under US
law - the American Service Members Protection Act of 2002.
Edgar Embrey, Deputy Chief of Missions for the US Embassy
in Belize, told Amandala today,
Thursday, July 3, that the US is not a party to the treaty
establishing the ICC (the ICC treaty), and so
that country does not want Belize or any other party to that
treaty to turn over its nationals for
prosecution by the ICC. He said that the US calls for
sanctions against countries that have not signed
Article 98, confirming that they would not hand over US
nationals for prosecution by the ICC.
Belize has not acceded to the US's request, and Embrey
said that two types of military aid would
be discontinued for Belize: FMF - Foreign Military
Financing, under which the US buys "badly needed
equipment" for Belize; and IMET - the International Military
Education and Training Program, under
which Belizean military personnel receive specialized
technical training abroad, or are trained locally
by US trainers.
Asked how many dollars of aid were being withdrawn from
Belize, Embrey said he was unable to
say. He noted that any funding allotted but not yet
disbursed to Belize would be withheld.
As long as Belize refuses to sign Article 98, it would
not receive the two types of military aid,
Embrey said, adding that counter-narcotics aid, humanitarian
assistance and funding for trade-related
projects would still continue.
When we checked with the Ministry of Defense on the
issue, we were told, "Sorry, we don't have that
kind of information. You will have to check with the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. with Mr. David
Gibson." But when we called for Mr. Gibson, he was not
The US sanction against Belize coincidentally comes at a
time when Belize and the United States
have exchanged instruments of ratification for the Mutual
Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). Under the
bilateral treaty, Belize and the US have agreed to cooperate
on the prosecution of criminals sought by
either party who might have fled to or might have
established assets in the other country. It was
announced yesterday that Belize and US officials exchanged
the instruments of ratification in
Washington, USA, on July 2, 2003.
Meanwhile, the international press announced on the same
day that the US was pulling its military
aid from Belize. Over fifty countries were listed for not
signing "Article 98," but US President George
W. Bush exempted 22 countries, which the US claimed had
signed immunity deals but had not written
them into their law, leaving Belize and 34 others that are
now facing military aid sanctions.
NATO's 19 members and 9 countries designated "major
non-NATO allies" (including Australia,
Israel, Japan, and South Korea) were exempted from the
threat, whether or not they assented to the
Article 98 agreements; Taiwan was also exempted.
The sanctioned countries are signatories to the Rome
Statute of the International Criminal Court (the
ICC treaty), made July 17, 1998 and brought into force on
July 1 last year.
President Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, signed the
ICC treaty on December 31, 2000, but the
present administration has refused to endorse it. But,
according to international news reports, the
Bush administration worries that US servicemen or
politicians may face politically motivated
prosecutions, relating for instance to "peacekeeping
missions abroad." The US government gave
countries that had signed the ICC treaty until July 1, 2003,
to agree to "Article 98," granting immunity
to U.S. citizens. The consequence of not doing so was to
face a loss of US military aid. Fifty of the 90
countries that signed the ICC treaty had signed Article 98
agreements by July 1.
"Our hope is to continue to work with governments to
secure and ratify Article 98 agreements that
protect American service members from arbitrary or political
prosecution by the international court,"
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was quoted as
saying by Australia's Herald Sun of
July 2, 2003.
Embrey told Amandala today that if Belize does not sign
the article by the end of September, it
would also receive no aid for the 2004 fiscal year, which
begins on October 1, the start of the US
Government's fiscal year.
"Some countries may get an exemption [waiver] because
they sign an Article 98 in the coming
weeks and months. Others may have their aid suspended if
they go ahead and ratify the Rome treaty
without signing an Article 98," another international media
report quoted a US State Department official
The countries waived from the US sanctions include
Afghanistan, Bolivia, Botswana, Congo, East
Timor, Honduras, Macedonia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Panama,
Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and
The countries whose military aid was suspended include
Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize,
Benin, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominica, Ecuador,
Namibia, Niger, Paraguay, Peru, South
Africa, St Vincent and Grenadines, Tanzania, Trinidad and
Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Zambia.
The ICC is described as the world's first permanent
international court to try cases of war crimes,
crimes against humanity and genocide.
There are 90 parties and 139 signatories to the ICC
treaty. An official of the Belize Ministry of
Foreign Affairs confirmed that Belize became a party to the
Rome Statute on April 6, 2000. Prime
Minister Said Musa signed the ratification instrument, the
official told Amandala. She was unable to
comment on the matter of the Belize sanction.
We recall that Belize was also threatened by US sanctions
for not having in place what the country
regards as adequate human trafficking legislation. Belize
legislators moved with lightning haste to put
in place legislation, the absence of which would have meant
sanctions in 90 days. Cabinet first
considered the legislation on June 11 - the day the US first
publicly announced the possible
sanctions - and the new Trafficking in Persons Prohibition
Act was passed into Belize law 12 days
The threatened sanctions were also called for under US
federal law - the Victims of Trafficking and
Violence Protection Act of 2000, Sections 101-118 -
Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000.
#16829 - 07/08/03 08:37 AM
Re: Belize loses military aid
Joined: Apr 2000
A.G.: Belize will negotiate I.C.C. with U.S.
It came as an ominous ultimatum:
give us a get out of court card or
we'll take away your military aid.
But today, the Attorney General of
Belize, Godfrey Smith, says the
position of the United States
Government on the issue of the
International Criminal Court may
not be the hard line it first came across as and Belize
might be able to find a legal window that would make
everyone happy. In essence, the Americans have
asked that its citizens be exempt from the jurisdiction
of the international court because as Smith put it, the
U.S. is "wary of any international tribunal or legal
process that is not sanctioned by United Nations
Security Council". The U.S. had issued a July first
deadline, taking away military aid from any country
that did not promise that it would not hand over U.S.
nationals for prosecution by the I.C.C.. According to the
Government, Belize receives between seventy-five to
three hundred thousand U.S. dollars in aid every year.
But as even the A.G. had to admit, if we sign the
proposal called Article 98, it would put us in breach of
other international treaties. So where does all this
leave us? According to Smith, at the negotiating table.
Godfrey Smith, Attorney General
"The position of the Government of Belize at this moment in
time is that we will attempt to negotiate with the United
States of America an agreement with them that will not
cause Belize to compromise it's obligations that it signed
onto with the International Criminal Court under the Rome
"The basis for us to negotiate is that there seems to be a
view coming out of the E.U. and some other countries, that
look, you may be able to find an Article 98 agreement that
you can sign, provided it deals with certain legal issues in a
certain way. It is not saying... the position does not seem to
be that anything that you sign with the United States will put
you in breach of the Rome Statue. So that is the window
that is there and which has to be explored fully. Obviously,
Belize has to be pragmatic, we have good relations with the
U.S., we share a strong flow of trade with the United States
and if the legal position is that we can reach an agreement
with them without breaching other obligations, then that
may well be the position that the Government of Belize
"I don't think that I could sit here as a foreign affairs policy
person to the government and people of Belize and say that
we are not concerned or take a keen interest in our relations
with the United States based on any single act or
combination of acts. So certainly, the fact that there was the
issue of the trafficking in persons and now this issue of the
Article 98 and the military assistance, has to be taken very
"Belize, and the rest of CARICOM, is saying to the world at
large that we believe in the principles for which this court
stands and for which the Rome Statute stands. Obviously,
the logical consequence of that is we believe that all states,
including the United States of America, should sign on to the
treaty and be a part of the system. We believe that there
are adequate safeguards in place to guard against any
politically motivated trials. They do not see it that way, and
as I have said, if an avenue exists for them to not sign on or
if they view it as a matter for their internal sovereignty and
for their internal courts, then they are legally entitle to that
and it is not for us to make a value judgement on that."
According to Smith, current military programs
operating in Belize will continue as planned.
Negotiations between the Belize Government and U.S.
officials here are set to start in the near future.
#16835 - 07/09/03 02:35 PM
Re: Belize loses military aid
Joined: Dec 2000
Don't take this too seriously, neither the US or BZ govt do. Just a small thing in a long time relationship. Still plenty of things going on between the two countries. Belize is not the only country that cannot sign on due to other agreements signed a long time ago. It ain't personal. Just biz as usual.
Maya Travel Services
#16836 - 07/10/03 04:24 AM
Re: Belize loses military aid
Joined: Sep 2000
Belize should tell Uncle Sam to stick its penny ante "military aid" where the sun don't shine. Belize has already experienced the negative result of allowing international criminals in the employ of the US government to set Belize up as a transport center in the mid 1980's for Oliver North's cocaine and arms trafficking cartel. Belize is still paying the price for this CIA funded narco-terrorism. Allowing the men who perpetrate this kind of thuggery (and the corruption and violent crime that inevitably accompany it) a get-out-of-jail free card in advance is bad for small countries and constitutes disgusting bullying on the part of the Bush administration.
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 registered members (1 invisible),
Jun 10th, 2007