Report: U.S. may help international court

June 12, 2007 at 9:59 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. government has made an unprecedented offer of helping the International Criminal Court in The Hague investigate war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

While the United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that created the court and challenges its claim of jurisdiction over citizens of non-member states, a U.S. State Department legal adviser said in a speech at The Hague that the country would offer help based on ICC requests, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

"One cannot say yes in advance to receiving a request," adviser John Bellinger said in the Post report. "Depending on what it is and if it is something that we have and is in accordance with our own laws and did not undermine our own intelligence work, we would be prepared to say yes."

In an interview with the Post after the speech last Wednesday to the Atlantic Commission of jurists, Bellinger said the move was not a reversal of policy.

"If we have differences with the ICC, we share its goals of accountability in crimes against humanity, particularly in Darfur," he told the Post.

Fighting in Darfur since 2003 between government-backed Islamist militias and tribal people has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions of others, aid agencies report.

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