Browse by Region
Review Conference: Informal Daily Summary - Wednesday, 2 June 2010
02 June 2010
The Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened on May 31st 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 a short summary of developments in the General Debate (A); impact on victims and affected communities (B); peace and justice (C); side-events (D); latest publications, statements and press releases (E); as well as news articles on the conference (F).
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.
On the third day of the Review Conference, states delegates, officials from international organisations, court and tribunals, NGOs and other high level experts held the two first sessions of the so-called "stocktaking exercise", i.e. a series of open discussion panels aiming to take stock of the Rome Statute's impact to date and to look for ways to improve the system's functioning in relation to: cooperation, complementarity, victims and affected communities and peace and justice. NGOs were instrumental in advocating in favour of using the Review Conference as an opportunity to make such important assessment.
B. IMPACT ON VICTIMS AND AFFECTED COMMUNITIES
The morning session was dedicated to stocktaking of the impact on victims and affected communities. The session was opened by the Focal Points on this stocktaking topic Chile and Finland, followed by a short movie. UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy delivered a keynote speech, highlighting the importance of justice for victims and the special needs of children and women.
The subsequent discussion panel was chaired by Eric Stover of the Berkeley Human Rights Center and composed of Silvana Arbia, ICC Registrar, Binta Mansaray, Special Court for Sierra Leone Registrar, Elisabeth Rehn, Chairperson of the Trust Fund for Victims' Board of Director, David Tolbert, President of the ICTJ, Carla Ferstman, REDRESS director and Justine Masika Bihamba, coordinator of the Synergy of Women for Victims of Sexual Violence - DRC (Synergie des femmes contre les violence sexuelles).
Speakers addressed the importance of victims' participation in ICC proceedings, the central role of outreach, issues linked to the protection of victims and witnesses and intermediaries, the issue of reparations and the role of the Trust Fund for Victims. A special emphasis was not only given to the progress made so far by the ICC, but also to the way forward. The panel was followed by a Q&A session by states and civil society. A report on the session will be drafted and a resolution shall be adopted next Tuesday.
ICC Video summaries of this panel are now available on the ICC YouTube Channel
Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oDcYQZW7uY
Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePiZz22_Qw4
For further information on this topic, visit: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=impactonvictims
C. PEACE AND JUSTICE
The afternoon session was dedicated to taking stock of the relationship of peace and justice as it pertains to the ICC and to international criminal justice more generally. To discuss this issue, Executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth moderated a panel composed of ICTJ President David Tolbert, Peace mediator James LeMoyne, Ugandan lawyer and expert on transitional justice Barney Afako, and director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia Chhang Youk.
From the panel's contributions, and the interventions of States Parties, non-States Parties, international government organizations and non-governmental organizations a number of common themes were raised, including:
* The recognition that the ICC is still a young institution. Some referred the transition away from amnesties as a paradigm shift which the international community is still getting used to;
* The historic use of amnesties was considered, with some arguing that they seem to have worked in some cases, and others focusing on instances where they caused more violence;
* It was discussed whether the sequencing of justice endeavours may be a relevant consideration and whether under the prosecutor's discretion or the discretion of the UNSC pursuant to article 16;
* The relationship between international mediation and the ICC was considered, particularly whether this relationship has changed the role or tools of mediators;
* The deterrent effect of a robust international criminal justice was raised in support of denying amnesties, however the moderator noted that true deterrence requires that justice become the norm rather than the exception;
* Alternative mechanisms of justice were discussed as complements rather than substitutes for international or national criminal prosecutions;
* Finally the role of victims and the nature of their hopes, needs and expectations for justice were discussed as a central determinant in the relationship between justice and peace.
Visit the CICC website for further information on Peace and Justice: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=peaceandjustice
D. SIDE EVENTS
* The Coalition for the ICC hosted a side-event entitled "Civil Society taking stock: Complementarity" to share the views of civil society on this critical issue on the eve of the formal stocktaking exercise to be held in the plenary of the Conference. The event was chaired by David Donat Cattin from Parliamentarians for Global Action and included four speakers who discussed the challenges and possible solutions regarding the States Parties' primary obligation to investigate and prosecute Rome statute crimes within their domestic judicial systems. Francesca Varda of the CICC Secretariat spoke about the lack of adequate implementing legislation and how states must make legal reform and strengthening the domestic rule of law as a priority. International Commission of Jurists - Kenya representative James Gondi discussed various ways in which political unwillingness to prosecute crimes domestically may by manifested by state parties. Dadimos Haile of Avocats Sans Frontieres shared experiences in ASF's capacity building projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for judges, lawyers and civil society on trying international perpetrators on a domestic level. Lastly, James Goldston from the Open Society Justice Initiatives suggested that the ASP may contribute to complementarity efforts by establishing mechanisms to coordinate efforts by states parties to implement the Rome Statute and strengthen their capacity to investigation and prosecute. The Chair insisted on the fact that successful positive complementarity requires a holistic approach including capacity building, creating political will, producing quality implementing legislation, the realization of obligations, for the court to proceed where states fail, sharing lessons learned, and for the Court to inform states on how it makes decisions via better jurisprudence on what complementarity means and how it operates.
For more information on complementarity, please read: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=complementarity
And refer to the Coalition for the ICC's paper at: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/CICC_Team_Paper_on_Complementarity_-_Review_Conference.pdf
* The Government of Chile and Finland hosted an event entitled 'Hope Empowerment and the Experience of Justice' to discuss the preliminary findings from Trust Fund for Victims research and consultation with victims and affected communities. Guest speakers included Chairperson of the Trust Fund for Victims' Board of Director Elisabeth Rehn, Acting Executive Director of the Fund Kristin Kalla, as well as TFV projects implementing partners AVSI foundation - rehabilitating victims of mutilation and torture - and Northeast Chilli Produces Association - empowering victims through participation. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session.
For more information on the Trust Fund for Victims, see: http://www.trustfundforvictims.org/
* A public dialogue on the impact of the Rome Statute on victims and affected communities was held by World Vision at the People's space and focused on the plight of children and affected communities in Northern Uganda, with interventions by VWU representatives as well as a child survivor and a child mother. Main issues discussed related to peace and justice, reparations for victims and affected communities and the access to the ICC Trust Fund for Victims.
An event on prosecuting persecution on the basis of gender was held by No Peace without Justice at the People's space. Panellists David Kato (Advocacy and litigation Officer, Sexual minorities, Uganda), Valerie Oosterveld (Professor of Law at the University of Western Ontario), John Francis Onyango (Human Rights Advocated, Uganda) and Niccolo Figa-Talamanca (Secretary General, No Peace without Justice) and Moderator Pam Spees (International law Attorney and Advisor to the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice) highlighted the issue of discrimination against women, sexual orientation, gender identity and article 7(3).
To read more on No Peace without Justice, see:
Still at the people's space CIRDDOC/Nigeria Coalition for the ICC and HURINET/UCICC held a joint panel with African civil society groups to share their experiences representing NGOs on the CICC steering committee.
To know more on the CICC steering committee, see: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=steering
The International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association (ICB) held a meeting "the ICC: an independent review", to enable a frank conversation among diplomats and legal experts, journalists and NGOS on vital issues of international justice.
The ICB also held a press conference on the same day, with lawyers Allison Turner, Ken Gallant, Raymond Brown to condemn the Rwandan Government's recent arrest of the ICTR Defence Counsel Peter Erlinder in Kigali, Rwanda.
To read more on the issue, see: http://www.aiad-icdaa.org/index.php?section=1
The International Center for Transitional Justice held an event on "taking stock on the impact of the ICC in Kenya, Uganda, the DRC, Sudan and Colombia".
Read ICTJ papers on these issues at: http://www.ictj.org/en/news/press/release/3770.html
HURINET-U, UCICC and NPWJ held a reception with photo exhibitions and film clips of States Parties delegates visits to Northern and Eastern Uganda, with remarks by ASP President Ambassador Wenaweser , Ambassador Mirjam Blaak of the Embassy of Uganda to Belgium and the Netherlands, HURINET-U Coordinator Mohammed Ndifuna and NPWJ Secretary General Niccolo Figa-Talamanca. From January to May 2010, HURINET-U, UCICC and NPWJ with the support of Denmark and in cooperation with the government of Uganda arranged visits to Uganda for ICC states parties' delegates to meet and engage in dialogue with affected communities, victims, civil society and other stakeholders.
To read more on this project and see pictures of the visits, please refer to http://www.hurinet.or.ug/
The movie "War Don Don" was screened and followed by a panel discussion with Steven Rapp, US Ambassador-At-Large for War Crimes Issues, Sulaiman Jabati, Executive Director of the Coalition for Justice and Accountability, Sierra Leone, Binta Mansaray, Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and Elise Keppler, Senior Counsel at the International Justice Programme of Human Rights Watch.
To read more about the movie, visit: http://www.wardondonfilm.com/
The European Union presented its new brochure on "The European Union and the ICC", available at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/ICC_may 10_internet.pdf
The Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) also launched the "Report of the roundtable meeting of legal experts on the Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the ICC," held on 30-31 March 2010 in Malaysia. To learn further on this, visit:http://www.aalco.int/
Also to note was the pre launch of the book "The ICC and the Juba Peace process - Global Governance and/or local solutions," edited by John Francis Onyango and Mr. Pal Wrange. See: http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/rdonlyres/850861F0-F083-4DF1-B9E1-C1AFDCD79508/0/advanceRCJournal29may.pdf
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as well launched a manual on the domestic implementation of international humanitarian law. Dr. Yves Sandoz, Vice president of the ICRC introduced the manual, which is based on the extensive experience of the ICRC in the field of implementation of international humanitarian law. It aims at providing guidelines to governments in fulfilling their obligations under the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols. Minister of Justice of Burkina Faso Zakalia Kote gave a keynote speech highlighting the importance of international humanitarian law and outlined the engagement of Burkina Faso in this field.
For more information on the manual, visit http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/iwpList2/Humanitarian_law?OpenDocument
E. ICC PRESS RELEASES
i. "Review Conference concludes the general debate and adopts the Kampala Declaration", ICC Press Office, 2 June 2010,http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/6846974A-AF7F-46FC-A99A-C74FD9EF1785.htm
ii. "ICC Registrar participates in panel on impact of the Rome Statute system on victims and affected communities", ICC Press Office, 2 June 2010, http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/B5B9D308-844A-490D-92E8-8626F6306D72.htm
E. LATEST PUBLICATIONS, STATEMENTS AND PRESS RELEASES
a. Governmental and intergovernmental statements....
i. - "Statement at the International Criminal Court", Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 31 May 2010, http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/aktuelt/taler_artikler/utenriksministeren/2010/innlegg_icc.html?id=606531
ii. - "The UN Secretary-General Remarks to the media / Kampala", 31 May 2010, African Press Organization:http://appablog.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/the-un-secretary-general-remarks-to-the-media-kampala-31-may-2010/
i. "Africa: Women Demand Answers and Action From ICC", Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi,1 June 2010, http://w3.nexis.com/new/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T9468255896&format=GNBFI&sort=BOOLEAN&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T9468260500&cisb=22_T9468255899&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8001&docNo=49
ii. "NGOs gathered in Kampala Call for End to Impunity Crisis Following Israeli Attack on Aid Convoy", FIDH, 1 June 2010,http://www.fidh.org/NGOs-gathered-in-Kampala-Call-for-End-to-Impunity
iii. "Speech at CICC Press Briefing at the Review Conference," CIRDDOC Nigeria,
01 June 2010
iv. "Statement of No Peace Without Justice to Review Conference of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, " NPWJ, 01 June 2010
v. "General Assembly Debate Presentation," Andean Commission of Jurists, 1 June 2010
vi. "Statement of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court," CICC, 01 June 2010
vii. "Review Conference: NPWJ calls for a stronger international criminal justice system, through implementation, cooperation and an intensified ICC field presence," NPWJ, 01 June 2010
viii. "HURINET-U makes a Statement to the Assembly of State Parties," HURINET, 02 June 2010
i. "U.S. says state aggression issues could undermine ICC", Reuters, 2 June 2010, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6513RQ20100602?type=politicsNews
"The United States, wary of politicized investigations into the use of force by countries, said that allowing the International Criminal Court to prosecute crimes of state aggression poses a risk to the court itself.
At a landmark review conference of the ICC in Kampala, delegates are seeking to agree a definition of state aggression and how ICC investigations into the crime, one of four grave crimes the court has jurisdiction over, could be triggered.
The issue has divided delegates and NGOs over fears that giving the court powers to prosecute state aggression -- defined broadly as using force that manifestly breaches the UN charter -- could open it up to criticism of political bias and may again prove too divisive for full agreement to be reached in Kampala.
United States ambassador-at-large for war crimes Stephen Rapp warned late Tuesday about legal uncertainties over state aggression investigations and said that that pushing forward on the issue despite a lack of "genuine consensus" could undermine the ICC.
'What impact might the proposed definition, if adopted, have on the use of force that is undertaken to end the very crimes the ICC is now charged with prosecuting?' he said.
....The expectation that all those differences are going be sorted out in 10 days is very optimistic, but no one expected what happened 12 years ago in Rome (when the ICC founding treaty was signed)," said Bill Pace, Convenor of a coalition of NGOs that support the work of the ICC"
ii. "Disruption threat to ICC conference in Uganda", Mmegi Online, 1 June 2010, Online: http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?sid=11&aid=2689&dir=2010/June/Tuesday1
"Hundreds of opposition youth in Uganda have threatened to disrupt the International Criminal Court (ICC) conference, scheduled to begin today in Kampala, if the court does not take up their petition to see those who were responsible for the alleged deaths of more than 30 people in last September's riots brought to justice, reported Uganda People News. Violence erupted in the Ugandan capital Kampala after the government moved to prevent Ronald Muwenda Mutebi - the king of Uganda's largest ethnic group, the Baganda - from visiting a part of his territory.
Civil Society across Africa is also taking an interest in the upcoming conference with 124 organisations from 25 African countries releasing a declaration calling for their governments to show support for the work of the ICC.
'The civil society declaration is a strong showing of support for positive African government action at the Kampala conference and for the ICC more generally,' said Oby Nwankwo, executive director of Nigeria's Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center.
'While some leaders have tried to paint Africa as against the ICC, our voices are testament to the fallacy of such claims,' he added.
....According to New Vision, the Ugandan parliament recently passed an ICC bill, making it one of only a handful of African countries to have ratified the Rome statute...."
iii. "International Law "no solution to piracy", Thijs Bouwknegt, RNW, 2 June 2010, http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/international-law-no-solution-piracy
"...Is there any place for pirates at the International Criminal Court?
Piracy does not fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC, simply because it cannot be connected to the principles of the court, which mainly aims at international or national armed conflicts.
There are also a lot of legal technical problems to bring piracy as an international crime under the jurisdiction of the ICC. The proposal was already rejected last year and there is no chance that it will be included in it's statute during the Review Conference of the Rome Statute this week..."
iv. "Two Kenyan suspects to be tried by ICC before end of year- Ocampo", The East African, 1 June 2010, http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/2558/930376/-/pe18n5z/-/
"...Kenya is represented at the conference by Attorney-General Amos Wako and Lands minister James Orengo. Others at the conference are MPs Abdikadir Mohamed and Musa Sirma.
....The meeting also changed the earlier intention of the government to push for the UN Security Council's approval of the ICC's mandate over the crime of aggression.
Presenting the African position, Mr Wako said the 33 states who are members of ICC agreed that the jurisdiction of The Hague over the crime of aggression should not be subject to the Security Council's approval.
He said the Statute already contains a filter mechanism in the form of Pre-Trial Chamber hence ruling out the need for approval by the Security Council.
'Some have suggested that the Council's prior approval for the exercise of jurisdiction is a necessary consequence of the provisions of the Charter - some going so far as to argue that the council has 'exclusive responsibility' of determining the existence of the crime of aggression,' he said...."
Also read: "AU opposed to Security Council approval of ICC investigations", Alfred Nyongesa Wandera, 1 June 2010,http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/930320/-/x0pio1/-/
v. "Sudan says African states mulling withdrawal from ICC", Sudan Tribune, 2 June 2010, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article35264
"The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan today said that there African states which are convening in Uganda are considering a mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Secretary General of political mobilization at the NCP Haj Magid Siwar told the pro-government Sudanese Media Center (SMC) that Rome Statute review conference taking place in Kampala aims at drumming up regional and African support to control NGOs in the continent through the ICC.
Delegates from ICC member states are meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala over the next 10 days to discuss the ICC, set up in 2002 as the world's first permanent war crimes court, and seek to give it extra powers to prosecute crimes of state aggression.
Sudan has criticized Uganda's hosting of the conference suggesting it is a breach of Africa's solidarity in the wake of ICC arrest warrant issued for president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir last year. The African Union (AU) condemned the warrant and decided that its members will not cooperate with the court in apprehending the Sudanese leader.
But a bid by Sudan to have African nations withdraw from the Rome Statue has failed despite intense lobbying at a meeting by signatories held in Addis Ababa last year...."
vi. "Africa should prosecute continent's war crimes in own courts", Peter Fabricius, 1 June 2010, http://w3.nexis.com/new/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T9468255896&format=GNBFI&sort=BOOLEAN&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T9468260500&cisb=22_T9468255899&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=312416&docNo=43
"African states have been urged to create domestic laws and to beef up their own courts to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
This would make it unnecessary for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute these crimes in their countries, and would avoid the perception of foreign interference in African affairs.
...South Africa's deputy justice minister, Andries Nel, called for national courts in Africa to be strengthened so they could effectively investigate and prosecute the crimes which the ICC has jurisdiction over - war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The ICC may only prosecute when it deems national courts unable or unwilling...."
vii. "Museveni wants Africa to embrace ICC", New Vision, 1 June 2010, http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/721470
"PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has described the review conference of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an opportunity to discredit the claim that it is a court for Europeans to judge Africans. Speaking at a state banquet in honour of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and heads of delegations of the ICC member states at State House Entebbe, on Monday, Museveni urged Africans to embrace the ICC, saying it would benefit them.
The conference, which will review the Rome Statute of the ICC, opened on Monday at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort. It will last until June 11. The conference represents the first opportunity to consider amendments to the statute and to take stock of its implementation and impact since it entered into force in 2002.
Over 2,000 representatives of states, non-governmental organisations and inter-governmental organisations are participating. Museveni noted that for Uganda that suffered war atrocities, the conference is a chance to interact and share experiences with the victims of the wars.
He said Uganda has joined the rest of the world in condemning acts of terrorism and genocide. The President said the restoration of peace and security, good governance and the Prosperity-for-All programme were top issues on the agenda of the National Resistance Movement. He said Uganda has been honoured to participate in the peace building processes in the region and pledged to continue protecting human rights and work for peace."
CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC:
The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts.
Communications to the ICC can be sent to:
P.O. box 19519
2500 CM the Hague