On May, 10, 2001, the US House of Representatives
voted in favor of H.Amdt.31 (the "DeLay
ed by Republican Rep. Tom DeLay
) to H.R. 1646, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which covers appropriation
s for fiscal year
s 2002-03. The vote was 282-137, with one representative
" and 11 not voting. On party lines, 205 Republican
s voted yes, and 4 voted no; 76 Democrat
s voted yes, and 132 voted no.
The DeLay Amendment, spelled out in House Report 107-62, states America's opposition to the International Criminal Court, established by the adoption of the UN's "Rome Statute" on July 17, 1998. The US Congress does not, as a whole, favor of the Rome Statute, which it believes is an unwarranted threat to its national sovereignty. Moreover, it is concerned that US servicemen and servicewomen on peacekeeping missions would be subject to prosecution for war crimes merely for carrying out their duties as prescribed by the UN Security Council. Whether or not these fears are warranted, the US Senate has not ratified the Rome Statute and has said it would refuse to do so as it is currently written.
Section 638(a) of the DeLay Amendment (the section in question) reads:
(a) AUTHORITY- The President is authorized to use all means necessary and appropriate to
bring about the release from captivity of any person described in subsection (b) who is being
detained or imprisoned against that person's will by or on behalf of the International Criminal
Note the use of the word "appropriate." This section does not imply military action. In fact, Sections 638(c) and 638(d) explicitly state that "all means necessary and appropriate" includes providing legal assistance but does not include bribery or other inducements. The mere fact that it prohibits relatively benign actions such as bribery suggests strongly that "all means necessary and appropriate" do not include an invasion of the Netherlands.
Moreover, it should be noted that this bill is not federal law, and will not be until it is passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President. A lot can happen in that process, and just because the text is in there today doesn't mean that the Senate won't take it out later.