London, 7 May 2002 (RFE/RL) -- UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson says the United States sent a "very dangerous signal" by rejecting the treaty setting up the world's first international criminal court. Robinson's comments to BBC radio in London today were in response to a decision by U.S. President George W. Bush to withdraw the American signature from the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court.
Earlier today, Human Rights Watch said Bush's rejection of the court will "further estrange" Washington from its closest allies.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said the tribunal's planned 1 July start-up means American service personnel abroad, as well as current and former U.S. officials, may be at risk of politically motivated prosecution.
The International Criminal Court gained the necessary international backing to come into being last month when 10 nations joined 56 others in ratifying the treaty.