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Central America, EU face off on penal court

Central America, EU Face off on Penal Court

San Salvador, Feb 25 2008 (Prensa Latina) — Central America and the European Union may have difficulties reaching an association agreement due to European requirement for ratification of the Statutes of Rome of the International Penal Court.

El Salvador’s Assistant Foreign Minister Eduardo Calix said that, while the topic is a key political one for EU, Central America considers respect for the positions of each country fundamental.

This is the position Central America defends in Brussels, where the second negotiation round on the topic began Monday, reported Salvadoran newspaper La Prensa Grafica.

EU wants to add all Central American countries to the Statutes of Rome, which only Costa Rica and Honduras have ratified in the region.

Dario Lobo, president of the Central American Court of Justice, said that although these regulations are to prosecute and judge human rights violations and crimes against humanity, not everyone has confidence in an International Penal Court.

"There are many people and institutions interested in fostering criminal processes at an international level, but perhaps there are not enough guarantees," he added.

Central America changed 45 percent of the texts of the political and cooperation chapters proposed by EU in the first round, held in Costa Rica, where the EU insisted that it would not negotiate with a divided region.

"The agreement will eminently be a political one. This has three dimensions: politics, trade and cooperation, but based on a political relationship to which we want to aspire, together with EU, the Salvadoran minister concluded.

 source: Prensa Latina