Calls for Arab states to join the ICC emerge from Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Chief Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein speaks at the Human Rights Council. © Reuters

 

Only four of the Arab League’s 21 members (Syria’s membership has been suspended) have ratified the ICC Rome Statute, leaving Arab states underrepresented at the Court.

 

ICSRF President Ahmed Omar explainedhow human rights abuses by authoritarian regimes in many Arab states led to the Arab Spring.

Omar:

“It is no longer acceptable, and after this period of time on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in spite of the revolutions of many of the peoples of the Arab countries, to apply the death penalty and military trials to get rid of political opponents, and the prosecution of activists human rights in many Arab countries, in addition to narrowing the scope of the freedom of opinion and expression, and confiscation and closure of newspapers and satellite channels.”

The ICSRF wants Arab governments to protect their citizens’ human rights by joining a number of international treaties, including the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Because so few Arab countries belong to the ICC, the Court has been unable to investigate many allegations of mass atrocities in states affected by the Arab Spring. The exception is Libya, which was referred to the ICC prosecutor by the UN Security Council.

In his address at the Human Rights Council, the UN’s new high commissioner for human rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, highlighted the importance of the fight against impunity, specifically urging Iraq to join the ICC.

 

Civil society has also called on Iraq to join the Court in the wake of mass atrocities allegedly committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Tell us what you think – What can be done to encourage Arab states to join the ICC?

Learn more about our work at the Human Rights Council.

Sign up to receive weekly and monthly updates from the us.