Agreement with US on ICC extradition

Zambia this month signed a bilateral agreement with the United States not to extradite US citizens accused of war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC), a US embassy official told IRIN on Friday.

Zambia's decision to sign an "Article 98" exemption agreement under the Rome statute setting up the ICC means that US military aid can now be resumed. Zambia was among 35 countries punished by a US domestic law banning US military assistance to those who refused to conclude the treaty.

African countries that have reportedly not accepted an Article 98 agreement, or received waivers from the White House, are: Benin, Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, and Tanzania.

The United States, under former president Bill Clinton, endorsed the Rome statute. However, the administration of President George W. Bush retracted the US signature in 2002, in fear that US soldiers or citizens could be subject to politically motivated prosecution through the ICC.