U.S. halts military aid to Mexico over international court dispute

Military aid to Mexico from the United States has remained suspended since last autumn because a dispute related to the International Criminal Court (ICC), U.S. media reported Wednesday.

The sanctions were imposed last October after Mexico became a signatory to the Hague-based ICC, which was set up in 2002 to hunt down perpetrators of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

Mexico is the 12th country from Latin America sanctioned by the U.S. government under a law that was approved by the U.S. Congress four years ago to shield Americans, especially overseas-based troops, diplomats and agents, from ICC jurisdiction.

The sanctions have cost Mexico some 1.1 million U.S. dollars of U.S. aid for anti-terror and anti-narcotics training, and a 2.5 million-dollar program to provide anti-terror equipment to the Mexican military.

The 2002 U.S. law is known as the American Servicemembers Protection Act, which declares that any country wishing to join the ICC and evade U.S. sanctions should sign immunity agreements with the United States that shield Americans from ICC jurisdiction.

Otherwise, the countries could face U.S. sanctions.

More than 100 countries have signed immunity agreements with the U.S. government, but Mexico and a number of other Latin American countries said they are not willing to follow suit.

ICC-related sanctions have affected the traditional military ties between the U.S. and Latin American militaries.

Worldwide, about two dozen countries have been sanctioned by the United States for the ICC dispute.

Source: Xinhua

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