The USA had sought "permanent immunity", or alternatively "full exemption", for its "peacekeepers" from the International Criminal Court (ICC), set up to try those accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. It has also endeavoured to use the UN Security Council to intervene and amend the Rome Statute that created the ICC, invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Under this chapter, the Council has the right to take action with respect to threats to peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression.
The USA obtained a blanket immunity for 12 months, to be renewed only by request at the end of every 12 months, was obtained in July 2002 under Article 16 of the Rome Statute. The USA wanted the immunity to automatically roll over for successive 12-month periods, thereby effectively making it permanent.
The ICC is no threat to peace, and none of the provisions of Chapter VII apply to it.
Article 16 of the Rome Statute provides for Security Council deferrals only on a temporary, case-by-case basis. The US proposal constitutes a generalized preventive exemption clearly not envisaged by Article 16 and, accepted, gives has elevated the USA to the status of a country above international law.
3. The US proposal represents a bad precedent because it gives the Security Council authority to amend international treaties and undermines the integrity of the Council.