U.S. Drops U.N. Bid for War Crime Shield

Los Angeles Times

9:45 AM PDT, June 23, 2004

UNITED NATIONS — Facing strong opposition, the United States announced Wednesday it was dropping a resolution seeking to renew the exemption for American peacekeepers from international prosecution for war crimes.

U.S. deputy ambassador James Cunningham made the announcement after key Security Council members rejected a U.S. compromise proposal to limit the exemption to one final year.

"The United States has decided not to proceed further with consideration and action on the draft at this time in order to avoid a prolonged and divisive debate," Cunningham said after a closed council meeting.

Before the meeting, Spain and China said they would abstain if the resolution was put to a vote, and Philippines Ambassador Lauro Baja, the current council president, said he doubted the United States had the minimum nine "yes" votes needed to adopt it.