EMPTY has been a supported parameter of DFSORT/ICETOOL's COUNT operator since March, 2002. The error message indicates your shop is very downlevel in DFSORT service. Ask your System Programmer to install z/OS DFSORT V1R5 PTF UQ95214 or DFSORT R14 PTF UQ95213 (Dec, 2004). That will get you up-to-date with all of the latest DFSORT functions available.
Dont know what you are trying to do exactly with this job, but your error messages suggest clearly that EMPTY is not a valid Keyword or parameter for COUNT operator.
Yes, it is, but you need the March, 2002 DFSORT PTF.
what release of DFSORT are you running (look at the ICE000I message in the DFSMSG output)?
The release doesn't matter. The function is available for both supported releases (V1R5 and R14). You can't tell from the ICE000I message which PTFs are installed.