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The American Service-Members' Protection Act (ASPA) is a United States federal law introduced by US Senator Jesse Helms as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and passed in August 2002 by Congress. The stated purpose of the amendment was "to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party".

It authorizes the President to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court”. This has led to the nickname The Hague Invasion Act[1][2], since such freeing of US citizens by force might only be possible through an invasion of The Hague, The Netherlands, the seat of several international criminal courts.

The Act prohibits federal, state and local governments and agencies (including courts and law enforcement agencies) from assisting the Court. For example, it prohibits the extradition of any person from the United States to the Court; it prohibits the transfer of classified national security information and law enforcement information to the Court; and it prohibits agents of the Court from conducting investigations in the United States.

The Act also prohibits U.S. military aid to countries that are party to the Court. However, exceptions are allowed for aid to NATO members, major non-NATO allies, Taiwan, and countries which have entered into “Article 98 agreements”, agreeing not to hand over U.S. nationals to the Court. Furthermore, the President may waive this prohibition where he determines that to do so is “important to the national interest of the United States”.

See also

References

  1. ^ Human Rights Watch, “U.S.: 'Hague Invasion Act' Becomes Law”. 3 August 2002. Accessed 8 January 2007.
  2. ^ John Sutherland, “Who are America's real enemies?”. The Guardian, 8 July 2002. Accessed 8 January 2007.

External links

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