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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 3, 2001


I transmit herewith, with a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, subject to an understanding and a reservation, the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted by the United Nations General Assembly by consensus on December 9, 1994, and signed on behalf of the United States of America on December 19, 1994. The report of the Department of State with respect to the Convention is also transmitted for the information of the Senate.

Military peacekeepers, civilian police, and others associated with United Nations operations are often subject to attack by persons who perceive political benefits from directing violence against United Nations operations. The world has witnessed a serious escalation of such attacks, resulting in numerous deaths and casualties. This Convention is designed to provide a measure of deterrence against these attacks, by creating a regime of universal criminal jurisdiction for offenses of this type. Specifically, the Convention creates a legal mechanism that requires submission for prosecution or extradition of persons alleged to have committed attacks and other offenses listed under the Convention against United Nations and associated personnel.

This Convention provides a direct benefit to United States Armed Forces and to U.S. civilians participating in peacekeeping activities by including within its coverage a number of types of operations pursuant to United Nations mandates in which the United States and U.S. military and civilians have participated in the past. If the United States were to participate in operations under similar conditions in the future, its forces and civilians would receive the benefits created by this instrument. The Convention covers not only forces under U.N. command, but associated forces under national command or multinational forces present pursuant to a United Nations mandate. In situations such as we have seen in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, and Haiti, certain attacks on these associated forces would now be recognized as criminal acts, subjecting the attackers to prosecution in or extradition by any State that is a party to the Convention. As a result, the international community has taken a significant practical step to redress these incidents. In doing so, we recognize the fact that attacks on peacekeepers who represent the international community are violations of law and cannot be condoned.

By creating obligations and procedures that increase the likelihood of prosecution of those who attack peacekeeping personnel, this Convention fulfills an important objective under my Directive for Reforming Multilateral Peace Operations of May 1994, which directs that the United States seek additional legal protections for United States peacekeeping personnel.

The recommended legislation, necessary to implement the Convention, will be submitted to the Congress separately.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to this Convention subject to the understanding and reservation that are described in the accompanying report of the Department of State, and give its advice and consent to ratification.


                              THE WHITE HOUSE,
                              January 3, 2001.

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