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Review Conference: Informal Daily Summary - Tuesday, 1 June 2010
01 June 2010
The Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is ongoing in Kampala, Uganda from 31 May to 11 June. States Parties to the ICC Rome Statute - ICC's founding treaty - as well as observer states, international organizations and NGOs are meeting to discuss amendments to the Statute as well as its impact to date.
This message includes an informal summary of developments at the Conference yesterday – 1 June 2010 - both in the plenary and side-events (I); latest press releases and statements (II) as well as latest news articles on the conference (III).
For more information on the Review Conference, please visit the CICC website at: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=review
To see the CICC Review Conference Background Paper visit:
Please note that official Review Conference documents can be found on the ICC website at: http://www.icc-cpi.int/
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need further information.
I. REVIEW CONFERENCE DAY 2: INFORMAL SUMMARY, 1 JUNE 2010
1. PLENARY SESSION
A. GENERAL DEBATE
On the second day of the Review Conference, the general debate continued with sessions taking place in both the morning and afternoon.
The following state parties spoke throughout the session: Botswana, Kenya (on behalf of African States Parties), Namibia, Peru, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Mauritius, New Zealand, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Austria, Samoa, Ecuador, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Venezuela, France, Jordan, Republic of Korea, UK, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, Greece, Ireland. Estonia, Colombia, Suriname, Canada, Ghana, Montenegro. Lesotho (Attorney General), Republic of Guinea, Fiji, Nigeria, Australia, Hungary, Macedonia, Costa Rica and Georgia.
Among the issues addressed by numerous delegations were: general support for the exercise of stocktaking; support for the principle of complementarity and in particular to enact implementing legislation; importance of cooperation with the Court; the need to endeavor for universal ratification of the Rome Statute; the relationship between peace and justice, specifically numerous states endorsed the principle that the two concepts are mutually reinforcing; and the Crime of Aggression.
The following non-state parties spoke during the evening session: Egypt (on behalf of the non-aligned movement), United States, China, El Salvador, Republic of Congo Brazzaville, Cuba, Indonesia, Guatemala, Cote d'Ivoire, Holy See, Indian, Russia, Philippines, Turkey, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Palestine, and Israel.
International Organizations then took the floor at the evening session: the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, the African Union, and the League of Arab States.
The general debate ended with the interventions of 9 non-governmental organizations who reflected on the importance of the review conference, a landmark event taking place 12 years after the adoption of the Rome Treaty: the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, the Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l’Homme à Shabunda (Member of the DRC coalition for the ICC), Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Network-Uganda, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme, No Peace without Justice, Amnesty International, and the Comisión Andina de Juristas.
The statements by NGOs reflected a combination of views from NGOs, some active in situation countries. Speakers covered pressing issues faced by the Rome system, including the importance of achieving both peace and justice, the necessary cooperation by States, IOs and other organizations for the ICC to complete its mandate, including in terms of enforcing arrest warrants, the principle of complementarity, the importance of participation and reparations for victims and communities and the role of the Trust Fund for Victims, necessary outreach and field presence, the prosecution of gender based crimes, the crime of aggression, and the importance of making pledges and true commitments beyond the RC, among many others.
Speeches of NGOs will be made available shortly on the Coalition’s website at: www.coalitionfortheicc.org/review
Speeches by all representations should be made available on the ICC-ASP website at: http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC?lan=en-GB
During a special plenary ceremony the Review Conference acknowledged and welcomed the more than a hundred pledges submitted by 37 states. Such pledges include commitments regarding ratification of the APIC, implementation legislation, cooperation with the ICC, contributions to the trust fund for victims, capacity building on national investigations and prosecutions among many important issues.
C. CONSIDERATION OF AMENDMENT PROPOSAL
During a brief session, the Chairs from Brazil, Jordan and Belgium respectively presented the draft proposals to be considered by states during the course of this Conference: (1) the revision of Article 124 – a provision allowing states upon ratification to be excluded from the jurisdiction of the Court with regards to war crimes for a non renewable period of 7 years (2) the crime of aggression, and (3) the proposal to amend Article 8 as to include certain weapons as war crimes in non-international conflicts.
2. SIDE EVENTS
Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) and the Ugandan Law Society (ULS) organised a seminar on the challenges of complementarity under the Rome Statute and the role of lawyers: lessons learned and prospects. The seminar facilitated an exchange of experiences with ULS members and other lawyers involved in the Review Conference on the opportunity and challenges concerning the investigation and prosecution of international crimes at national level. Guest speakers included Carolyn Tanner, Papy Ndondoboni and Dadimos Haile of ASF, Bruce Kyerere of the ULS, Justice Elizabeth Nahamya-Ibanda of the Special War Crimes Division of the Uganda High Court, Sonia Robla of the ICC-PIDS. For more information on the work of ASF, see: www.asf.be
The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice organized an all-day advocacy event, the “Women’s Court”, in the people’s space. The event followed the tradition of the ‘people’s tribunal’, a semi formal tribunal with witnesses who testify about their experiences as if they were appearing in Court. Speakers included Nobel Peace Price Wangari Maathai, ICC Registrar Silvana Arbia, Chairperson of the Trust Fund for Victims’ Board of Director Elisabeth Rehn, WITNESS representative Bukeni Tete Waruzi, and women’s rights activists from Uganda, DRC, CAR and Sudan who spoke about experiences as victims/survivors or working on victims of victims/survivors.
For more information on the Work of the Women’s Initiatives, see: www.iccwomen.org
The CICC in collaboration with the Victims Rights Working Group hosted a side-event entitled “Civil Society taking stock - Impact of the Rome Statute on victims and affected communities”. The event aimed at sharing the views of civil society on the eve of the formal stocktaking exercise on this issue taking place in the plenary. The panel was co-chaired by Mariana Goetz from REDRESS and Amir Suliman from ACJPS/FIDH. After an opening note by CICC Convenor Bill Pace, Nobel Peace Price Winner Wangari Maathai made an introductory statement in which she emphasized the necessity for civil society and other actors to continue work on the national level to complement the ICC efforts. Chris Ongom of the Ugandan Victims Foundation spoke on why the ICC matters to victims. Dadimos Haile from ASF addressed the involvement of victims in the first ICC trial regarding the DRC situation. Raymond Brown, legal representative of victims in the Bashir case, illustrated the hopes of Darfuri victims to receive justice from the ICC. Bernadette Sayo from OCODEFAD addressed the issue of gender crimes and the experiences made in the Central African Republic. Finally, George Kegoro of the International Commission of Jurists – Kenya spoke on the impact of the Rome Statute on the national level by focusing on protection. A lively debate followed in which, among other things, the impact of the ICC in situations under analysis, such as Colombia, Afghanistan and Palestine was addressed.
For more information on victims and the Rome system, see: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=victimswitnesses and www.vrwg.org and in particular the VRWG’s report on the Impact of the Rome Statute System on Victims and Affected Communities, March 2010, http://www.vrwg.org/downloads/publications/05/VRWG Impact of ICC on victims 21 April 2010 _2_.pdf
The CICC also held a media briefing on pressing issues at stake at the Review Conference and answer questions from journalists. After a short introduction by CICC Convenor William R Pace, Oby Nwankwo of the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center – Nigeria presented her views on peace and justice and impact of the Rome Statute on affected communities, Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch elaborated on the importance of cooperation with the ICC, David Tolbert of the, International Center for Transitional Justice detailed the issue of complementarity of the ICC, and Professor Raul C Pangalangan, of the Philippines Coalition for the ICC elaborated on discussions on the crime of aggression.
Oby Nwanko’s speech is available at: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/CICC_PressConference1June2010en.pdf
On the same day, two other press conferences on the review conference were held by representatives of the European parliament as well as by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
During an official ceremony, the governments of Belgium, Denmark, and Finland formally signed agreements with the ICC to enforce the judges’ final sentences of imprisonment.
For more information read: http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/93D88DCD-C4AE-4432-89FA-3D15146B67FE.htm
The Open Society Justice Initiative and U.C Berkeley Human Rights Center held a meeting on innovative approaches to outreach. The meeting was chaired by David Tolbert of ICTJ and speakers included Binta Mansaray, Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Wanda Hall of the Interactive Radio for Justice, Claudio Perdomo of the ICC outreach Unit, Vineath Chou (Cambodia) of the Asian International Justice Initiative’s Court Watch Project, as well as Patrick Wink and David Cohen of the Berkeley Human Rights Center For more information on the work of OSI and the Human Rights Center, see: http://www.soros.org/ and http://hrc.berkeley.edu
A roundtable was held on the plight of war victims and affected communities in Northern Uganda and the implication for the Rome statute for child victims and affected families, organized by World Vision Uganda (WVU) and sponsored by Finland and Chile, Focal Points for the stocktaking exercise on impact on victims and affected communities. Speakers included the director of the WVU, who emphasized the need for protection and the importance of the Victims Trust Fund, among other issues as well as a former child soldier and child mother who gave their testimonies on their experiences when abducted by the LRA. Presentations were followed by public debate. To read more on WVU, see: www.worldvision.org
The Women's Initiatives launched their new publication, “In Pursuit of Peace - A la poursuite de la paix” followed by a reception. “In Pursuit of Peace is a new bilingual publication that includes statements, documents, and calls to action from women peace activists in relation to Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic. The publication can be downloaded at: http://www.iccwomen.org/documents/Pursuit-ENG-4-10-web.pdf
In the evening, the ICC hosted a reception and a photograph exhibition on the Rome statute system in its Kampala field office.
II. PRESS RELEASES AND DOCUMENTS
1. NGO STATEMENTS
i. “Malaysian Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs Announces Intention of Malaysia to Become a Party to Rome Statute,” Parliamentarians for Global Action, 28 May 2010 http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/PGQ_Press_Statement_6th_CAP_ICC__2_.pdf
ii. “Kampala Plan of Action for the Effectiveness and Universality of the Rome Statute,” Parliamentarians for Global Action and the Parliament of Uganda, 28 May 2010 http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/PGQ_Kampala_Plan_of_Action_FINAL__2_.pdf
iii. “NGOs gathered in Kampala Call for End to Impunity Crisis Following Israeli Attack on Aid Convoy,” PCHR, 31 May 2010, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/Flotilla_Attack_-_ICC_Conference.pdf
2. ICC PRESS RELEASE
“The ICC signs enforcement agreements with Belgium, Denmark, and Finland,” ICC Press Office, 1 June 2010,
http://www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/press and media/press releases/pr533
i. “Colombia participará en Conferencia de Revisión de la Corte Penal Internacional, en África (in Spanish),” Colombia, 31 May 2010, http://web.presidencia.gov.co/sp/2010/mayo/31/06312010.html
ii. “Sayed-Khaiyum to deliver International Criminal Court Statement,” Fiji, 31 May 2010, http://www.radiofiji.com.fj/fullstory.php?id=28123
iii. “Mexico Reiterates its Commitment to the International Criminal Court,” Mexico, 31 May 2010, http://www.sre.gob.mx/english/
iv. “U.S. Delegation to Attend the Rome Statute Review Conference in Kampala,” US Department of State, 28 May 2010, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/05/142358.htm
4. OTHERS- GENERAL
i. “New Film: the Impact of the ICC on Victims and Affected Communities in Northern Uganda,” By VRWG, 27 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFIgvCSuDek
III. NEWS ARTICLES
i. “LRA victims should be compensated – Ocampo,” Daily Monitor, 1 June 2010 http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/929644/-/x0ab2i/-/
‘Millions of people who have suffered under the brutal hands of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, should be compensated without further delay, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said.
Addressing delegates at the ICC Review Conference in Kampala yesterday, Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo, said: ‘The millions of LRA victims in northern Uganda do not need to wait for trial to be assisted. They need compensation and assistance now.’
According to Mr Ocampo, the states’ priority should be arresting Joseph Kony and stopping LRA rebels who have continued to cause havoc against humanity.
‘In the last one and half years, the LRA have killed almost 2,000 persons in southern Sudan, DRC and Central Africa Republic and displaced more than 300,000 persons. This is the cost of impunity and if we care about victims, we need to implement the arrest warrants pending since July 2005,’ said Mr Ocampo….”
See also: “Ocampo calls for quick arrest of Ugandan rebel leader,” DPA (via Earth Times), 31 May 2010 http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/326466,extra-ocampo-calls-for-quick-arrest-of-ugandan-rebel-leader.html
ii. “Museveni wants to pay Kony victims,” The New Vision, 31 May 2010
“President Yoweri Museveni has said the Lord’s Resistance Army victims in northern Uganda should be compensated without waiting for the trial of the perpetrators.
‘I entirely agree with Prosecutor Ocampo. The LRA victims don’t need to wait for the trial to be assisted,’ he said. Museveni was speaking at the opening of the ICC review conference at the Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, had earlier called for urgent assistance and compensation for the millions of LRA victims.
He had also called for the integration of development efforts with the work of the court.
Ocampo, however, added that the arrest of Joseph Kony and his fighters should remain the priority.
The ICC has a trust fund which provides victims with support like vocational training, counselling, reconciliation and recontructive surgery for those maimed by the rebels. Over 40,000 victims from across the world are benefiting from the fund.
In his address, Museveni also called on the ICC member states to make a distinction between just and unjust wars in the Rome Statute….”
iii. “UN chief urges greater support for war crimes court,” AFP, 1 June 2010 http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/7323078/un-chief-urges-support-for-war-crimes-prosecution/
“UN chief Ban Ki-moon called Monday for greater global support for war crimes prosecutions at the International Criminal Court, saying that it acted as a deterrent against atrocities in times of conflict.
Ban was speaking at a conference to review the work of the Hague-based tribunal, created under the 1998 Rome Statute that entered into force four years later.
The court has since spearheaded efforts to punish genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, issuing the world's first war crimes warrant for a sitting leader, Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir, over atrocities in Darfur.
The tribunal has also faced obstacles, including a lack of cooperation in arresting suspects and the refusal of the United States to join the court.
More than 100 countries have nevertheless signed on to the court, whose creation was urged by small states seeking ways to prosecute the worst war crimes when their own legal systems were unable to do so.
‘We want to send a strong message that atrocities and heinous crimes cannot go unpunished,’ the UN secretary general said. ‘We want to bolster the court's deterrent effect and make potential perpetrators think twice before they act.’
The court ‘must have universal support,’ he said. ‘Otherwise we simply embolden those who would commit terrible crimes and those who might want to see the court fail.’…”
iv. “Road Ahead for ICC,” IWPR, 31 May 2010 http://www.iwpr.net/report-news/road-ahead-icc
“With more than 80 members of the International Criminal Court, ICC, having confirmed their attendance at this week's review conference in Kampala, consensus for any substantial change to the governing rules of the court is likely to remain elusive Consensus is not actually needed to pass an amendment to the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding treaty. It is sufficient simply for two-thirds of all 111 members to agree. However, even two-thirds is a fairly high barrier to clear, especially when some of the issues are so divisive.
The real merit of the review conference, though, lies not in adopting amendments, but in recognition of the court's importance in ending impunity around the world.
When the ICC was first established, with the signing of the Rome Statute in 1998, there were many sceptics who doubted its durability.
This was particularly evident when it came to recruiting a senior-level lawyer who would serve as chief prosecutor.
After struggling to get people to apply for the post – with many fearing that the court would not last, especially as the United States seemed to be withdrawing its support – the ICC finally got its man: Luis Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentinian lawyer who gained prominence in his home country for prosecuting human rights abuses in the military.
The court is now holding a landmark conference to mark eight years of its existence (the court only came to life in 2002, once 60 countries had signed up to it), signaling that the international community's fight against impunity is here to stay.
It is true that accomplishments of the past eight years have been mixed, and it is perhaps too early to say exactly what the court has achieved….”
v. “Africa: Victims of Rights Violations Turn Their Eyes to Kampala,” All Africa, 29 May 2010 http://allafrica.com/stories/201005290002.html
“Starting in Kampala on Monday, representatives of governments, the United Nations and civil society groups will meet for the first time to review the workings of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and of the international treaty which set it up, the Rome Statute. The 10-day review conference will consider among other issues the question of extending the court's mandate, which at present covers war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Congolese human rights lawyer Olivier Kambala wa Kambala reviews the ICC with a particular focus on its operations in Africa.
African countries comprise one of the largest blocs of signatories to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and are critical actors in the institution, but their role is often overlooked. In fact, it was the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) ratification of the Rome Statute in 2002 that officially established the ICC – an institution impossible to envision 50 years earlier.
Coincidentally, the DRC is also the country in which the ICC put an end to what was beginning to appear as reluctance to act on the part of the international community to deal with suspected war criminals.
…. First, the the ICC's operation is anchored in ongoing conflicts. Four of five African cases brought before the court involve active insurrections.
…. Perhaps in the end, it is possible that the ICC is a reality impacting on African conflict. And this alone is an important milestone in 21st century conflict-resolution practices.
The recourse to the ICC as the channel of first preference to remedy the gross violation of human rights in the five situations before the court contradicts to some extent the mindset of the drafters of the Rome Statute. They believed preference should be given to national courts, and the ICC's jurisdiction should be complementary to national efforts. Only in situations of state unwillingness and inability to investigate and prosecute would ICC proceedings take precedence.
Four of the five situations before the ICC have been referred by states. Few referring states have effectively enacted complementary provisions in their national legislation. In fact, only five African countries -- Senegal, South Africa, Mali, Kenya and most recently Uganda - have passed domestic legislation relating to the Rome Statute.
The creation of real space on the African continent which is hostile to impunity for perpetrators will depend on the number of states implementing legislation that complements the statute. Those laws are necessary tools to bring about judicial cooperation between both the ICC and African countries on the one hand, and between African countries themselves on the other.
Most importantly, by turning to the Rome Statute's standards, implementing countries will be able to hold trials at home, based on international criminal standards laid down by the statute….”