The 10 future Member States and two associated countries have agreed to put their national policies in line with the EU’s position on the International Criminal Court.
The 10 future Member States, as well as Romania, Bulgaria and members of the European Economic Area (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) have declared that they share the objectives of the Common Position on the International Criminal Court (ICC) adopted by the External Relations Council on 16 June 2003. They will ensure that their national policies conform to that common position.
On 16 June, the External Relations Council adopted a Common Position on the ICC, with the objective of supporting the effective functioning of the Court and advancing universal support for it by promoting the widest possible participation in the Rome Statute. The new position strengthens the EU's commitment to the ICC, based on the initial position from June 2002. It affirms that the EU and its Member States will follow closely developments concerning effective co-operation with the Court in accordance with the ICC's statute.
The International Criminal Court, which opened in The Hague in July 2002, is the first permanent court for judicial proceedings trying people charged with genocide and other crimes against humanity. The US withdrew its signature from the ICC treaty in May 2002, saying that it could be used by hostile states for politically motivated prosecutions against American peacekeepers serving abroad.
The common position comes at the time when the United States are mounting pressure on Eastern European countries to grant permanent immunity from the Court's prosecution to American citizens.
The issue is to be discussed at the EU-US Summit in Washington on 25 June.