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Review Conference: Latest news and documents
21 May 2010
Dear all,

Please find below information and materials issued in advance of the Review Conference of the Rome Statute, to be held from 31 May to 11 June 2010 in Kampala, Uganda.

This digest includes links to latest reports related to the Review Conference, including the Coalition's background paper in preparation to the Conference (I), audiovisual materials (II), news articles (III) and ICC press releases (IV).

For more information on the Review Conference, visit: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=review

Also please note that the ICC has announced it will host a live blog session with ASP President Ambassador Christian Wenaweser on Tuesday, 25 May 2010 at 4:15 pm (CET) at: http://www.kampala.icc-cpi.info/blogspot

Regards,

CICC Secretariat
www.coalitionfortheicc.org

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I. REVIEW CONFERENCE: NGO BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

1. "Background paper in preparation to the Review Conference of The Rome Statute," Coalition for the International Criminal Court, May 2010, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/CICC_Review_Conference_Background_Paper.pdf

2. Factsheet on the Review Conference, CICC, April 2010, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/CICCFS_ReviewConference_April2010.pdf

3. Plan of Action in advance of the 2010 ICC Review Conference, CICC, April 2010, http://www.coalitionfortheicc/?mod=action

4. "Making Kampala Count: Advancing the Global Fight against Impunity at the ICC Review Conference", Human Rights Watch Report, 10 May 2010, http://www.hrw.org/node/90283

5. "International Criminal Court: Making the Right Choices at the Review Conference", Amnesty International, 19 March 2010, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/IOR40/008/2010/en

6. "Stocktaking: Complementarity," Thematic case study, International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), May 2010, http://www.ictj.org/static/Publications/ICTJ_RSRC-Complementarity_bp2010.pdf

7. "Stocktaking: Peace and Justice," Thematic case study, ICTJ, May 2010, http://www.ictj.org/static/Publications/ICTJ_RSRC-PeaceandJustice_bp2010.pdf

II. AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS

1. Interview with H.E. ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song on the Review Conference, ICC Youtube Channel, 19 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtDK_0HlhT0

2. Interview with Ms Elisabeth Rehn, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims on the Review Conference, ICC Youtube Channel, 14 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVKAMaAdDwY

3. Interviews with Focal Points Ms. Elena Bornand, Embassy of Chile and Ms. Miia Aro-Sanchez, Embassy of Finland on the impact of the Rome Statute on victims and affected communities, ICC Youtube Channel, 20 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/IntlCriminalCourt

4. Skylight pictures movies and documentaries:

i. "Seeking Peace & Seeking Justice: The ICC and Uganda," Skylight Pictures, May 2010, http://community.ijcentral.org/video/seeking-peace-and-seeking

ii. "The ICC in Africa," Skylight Pictures, May 2010, http://vimeo.com/11738281

iii. "The Emerging International Justice System," Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations/ Skylight Pictures, May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_dMQAinL-Y&feature=player_embedded

iv. "Law or War: The Creation of the International Criminal Court," Skylight Pictures, February 2010, http://community.ijcentral.org/video/law-or-war-the-creation-of-the

Note: Skylight pictures has produced award-winning film "The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court" and a range of videos of varying lengths related to the ICC and the Rome Statute. These movies are available for use of country delegations and civil society organizations during the Kampala ICC Review Conference, and beyond.

For additional information please visit: http://skylightpictures.com, http://ictj.org and
http://IJCentral.org

To schedule a screening or viewing of any of, please contact Paco de Onís by email at [email protected] or Sarah Anderson at [email protected]

III. RELATED RELEASES, ARTICLES AND OPINIONS

1. "NGOs lobby for states commitment ahead of ICC meet," by Ismail Musa Ladu (Daily Monitor), 21 May 2010, http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/922660/-/x05fuy/-/

"More than 500 non governmental organisation (NGO) representatives will attend the first ever review conference of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court, Daily Monitor has learnt.

The NGOs want member states to recommit themselves to the ICC's founding treaty-the Rome Statute.

The organisations have already started lobbying member states to reconfirm their commitment to the Rome Statute which among others seeks justice for the gravest crimes committed by either by the state, groups or an individual.

'For the Kampala Conference to have a greater impact, it requires attendance of the highest levels and participants to recommit themselves to ensure justice for victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including by making a tangible pledge,' the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) Director of regional programme, Brigitte Suhr, said in a statement issued yesterday.

According to the statement, Ms Suhr called upon states to use the Kampala review conference as an opportunity to publicly commit themselves to ratifying the Rome Statute or the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities within the shortest time frame.
Ms Suhr also called on government representatives to pledge to pass necessary ICC implementing legislation following the conference.

... 'This gathering will also help identify areas in which the court's positive impact can be further strengthened,' The CICC convenor, Mr William Pace, said.

He said: 'Debates will focus on the impact of the Rome Statute on victims and affected communities, complementarity, cooperation, and peace and justice, issues truly central to the system's fair, effective, and independent functioning.'..."

2. "Human Rights Group Calls for Stronger International Criminal Court," by Michael Onyiego (VOA), 12 May 2010,
http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/human-rights/Human-Rights-Group-Calls-for-Stronger-International-Criminal-Court--93585654.html

"The Human Rights Watch group is calling for a strengthened commitment to international justice at a conference that begins later this month in Uganda.

In a report entitled 'Making Kampala Count' New York-based Human Rights Watch is urging countries sending representatives to the Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Uganda to pledge support for the International Criminal Court and ensure perpetrators of crimes against humanity are held to account.

... The conference is to evaluate four key themes of the court's work: peace and justice, strengthening national courts, the ICC's impact on affected communities and state cooperation.

A counsel for the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, Elizabeth Evenson, says the discussions could have a real impact on the court's mission. 'This is the first-ever review conference for the ICC and so it means it will be an exceptional gathering of states that belong to the ICC, civil society and the international community more broadly interested in advancing the global fight against impunity. We think that the discussion that will be had in Kampala, over the two weeks of the conference, can make a real concrete difference in strengthening the fight against impunity, in consolidating the progress of the ICC and taking that fight forward,' she said.

The Kampala conference is also to address the court's role in crimes of aggression, when states engage in conflict that violates the U.N. charter. ... Human Rights Watch says it is strongly opposed to proposals to create a jurisdictional filter on crimes of aggression, through which the U.N. Security Council would decide which cases the ICC could pursue. Evenson says such a restriction would greatly damage the legitimacy of the court. ..."

3. "MEPS call for universal ratification of the Rome Statute," Press Release, European parliament, 19 May 2010, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/030-74696-137-05-21-903-20100518IPR74695-17-05-2010-2010-false/default_en.htm (excerpts)

"Ahead of the International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala, which will amend the Rome Statute and reflect on the Court's progress, MEPs called in a resolution adopted on Wednesday for all countries in the world to sign and ratify the Statute. They also urged EU Member States to participate in Kampala at the highest political level, to show their commitment to the Court.

... A delegation of MEPs representing several EP committees is planning to attend the conference between 31 May and 2 June in Kampala.

Defining crime of aggression
One of the main items on the conference agenda is a definition of "crimes of aggression". MEPs 'firmly support' the proposed definition, which describes such a crime as 'the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations'.

Deleting article 124
The EP resolution calls for the 'prompt deletion from the Rome Statute of article 124 on 'transitional provision', which allows states to choose not to have their nationals subject to the Court's jurisdiction over war crimes for a seven-year period after ratification. 'In this way the law is applied equally to all suspects of alleged war crimes', say MEPS.
Protection of victims

MEPs are concerned about the impact of the Rome Statute system on victims, individuals and communities affected by the crimes under the ICC's jurisdiction and therefore say that 'victims' rights and interests should be a primary concern for the Rome Statute community'.
In this context, Member States should:
* actively cooperate when a person is subject to an ICC arrest warrant on EU territory, to facilitate the transfer of the person to the ICC for judgment;
* ensure that victims, as well as their lawyers, benefit from adequate legal assistance and protection;
* announce during the Kampala conference a substantial financial contribution to the Trust Fund for Victims.

No new immunity agreements
'No immunity agreement should allow impunity of any individual accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide' say MEPs, who also 'welcome the announcement of the US administration that no new immunity agreements will be concluded and call on the USA and its partners to abandon the existing ones'.

Last but not least, MEPs highlight the importance of the choice of an African country, Uganda, to host this Review Conference, and express support for the Court's request to open a liaison office to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. ..."

4. "UN Secretary General, Uganda President to play football," by Geof Magga (Afrik.com), 21 May 2010, http://en.afrik.com/article17672.html

"Ugandans are eagerly waiting for a football match in which UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon is expected to play on the same pitch with Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni.

According to the organizers of the match, which is meant to honour war victims in Uganda, Ki-moon and Museveni will play in different teams made up of war victims from northern Uganda.

"The match is being organized by a non government organization called Uganda victims foundation. The chairman of the foundation, Santos, John Labeja said 'UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon will be playing in a football game at Nelson Mandela stadium on the eve of a review conference for the ICC scheduled to take place in Uganda starting on May 31st. Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni will also be playing in a game that will last 60 minutes.'

According to him the football game will be a highlight that will mark Uganda's war victims day, which falls on Sunday, 30th May 2010. The day is meant to remember those harassed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in northern Uganda. He said most of them still remain traumatized...."

5. "U.S. Nudged Toward Closer Cooperation with ICC," by Eli Clifton (IPS), 12 May 2010, http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51415

"The upcoming review conference of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has restarted the debate here in Washington about how the U.S. should engage with the ICC despite ongoing concerns about the prosecutorial authority and jurisdiction afforded to the court.

According to a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report released earlier this week, the U.S. should become a 'non-party partner' to the ICC and assist in investigations, apprehending suspects and prosecuting cases.

... Human Rights Watch issued a report on Monday calling on countries which are attending the review conference May 31 to Jun. 11 in Kampala, Uganda to increase the court's ability to prosecute the most serious human rights violators.

'This is a moment for ICC members meeting in Kampala to send a message to perpetrators and would-be perpetrators that they will face justice,' said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch. 'Serious debate at the conference can make real progress for the victims of mass slaughter and use of rape as a weapon of war.'

The conference will focus on four themes of the court's work: peace and justice, strengthening national courts, the ICC's impact on affected communities, and state cooperation.

The conference is expected to address an expansion of ICC jurisdiction to include drug trafficking and terrorism.

Both 'crimes of aggression' and a controversial member opt-out clause from statutes relating to war crimes may be examined at the conference and would represent some of the more challenging issues facing the ICC...."

6. "It is time to include aggression crimes in the Rome Statute as recommanded by the DRC" ("Il est temps d'inclure les crimes d'agression dans le Statut de Rome tel que le recommande la RDC!"), by Donatien Ngandu Mupompa (Le Potentiel, DRC), 19 May 2010, http://www.digitalcongo.net/article/66987 (In French)

"... The DRC national Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CN-CPI-RDC) organized a conference on the evaluation of the Rome Statute and this in preparation for the Review Conference ...

... Participants insisted that the crimes of aggression be included in the Rome Statute, and that in the view of the several cases of aggression that the Democratic Republic of Congo experienced from some neighbouring states.

... Another point of interest was the adoption of an implementation bill which is currently stagnating in Parliament. ..."

7. "State Aggression and Judicial Passivity," by Richard Goldstone (Project Syndicate Blog), 20 May 2010, http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/rgoldstone1/Englis

"When the member states of the International Criminal Court gather later this month in Kampala, Uganda, for a conference to review the ICC's work, one issue on the agenda will be whether to amend the Court's statute to allow it to exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. That issue was deferred when the ICC Statute was adopted in 1998. Based on my experience as an international prosecutor, and speaking as a strong supporter of the ICC, I believe that it would be a serious mistake to add the crime of aggression to the Court's docket now. The issue should be deferred again. ...."

8. "Sudan: Bashir Inauguration Should be No-Go Zone - Governments Should Not Meet with Officials Wanted for War Crimes," Press release, Human Rights Watch, 20 May 2010, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/20/sudan-bashir-inauguration-should-be-no-go-zone (excerpts)

"Governments that are committed to justice for atrocities committed in Darfur should not attend the inauguration of President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan on May 27, 2010, Human Rights Watch said in a letter released today. ... President al-Bashir is subject to an arrest warrant issued by the ICC in March 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for atrocities committed in Darfur. ...

Attendance at the inauguration would be particularly unfortunate in the lead-up to the first review conference of the ICC's Rome Statute, which will take place in Kampala, Uganda from May 31 to June 11. The review conference will be a moment of significant attention to the court's work and an important time to showcase state party dedication to the cause of international justice, Human Rights Watch said...."

9. "Sudan invited to ICC talks," by Joyce Namutebi (New Vision), 13 May 2010, http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/719413

"SUDAN has been invited for the International Criminal Court (ICC) review conference in Kampala, the focal point officer, John Bosco Suuza, said yesterday.

...Suuza, who was meeting journalists at the Uganda Media Centre, said invitations were sent to all UN member states, including Sudan.

Sudan's president, Omar Al Bashir, is wanted by the ICC over war crimes...."

10. "Sudan unhappy about Uganda's hosting of ICC review conference," Sudan Tribune, 8 May 2010, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article35014

"The Sudanese government today expressed dissatisfaction over conferences related to the International Criminal Court (ICC) being held in the continent suggesting that it is weakening political decisions taken by African leaders...."

IV. ICC PRESS RELEASES

1. "Live Blog Session with Assembly of States Parties President, Ambassador Christian Wenaweser," ICC-ASP Press Release, 21 May 2010, http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/Go?id=21a283bb-709e-49dc-8342-57bc8249eb19&lan=en-GB

"Please be informed that the President of the Assembly of the States Parties, Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, will hold a live blogging session on Tuesday, 25 May, 2010, between 16:15 and 17:15 (The Hague local time).

Ambassador Wenaweser will answer in English, French and Spanish to questions about the Review Conference of the Rome Statute which will take place in Kampala, Uganda, from 31 May to 11 June, 2010.

To post questions and follow the session live, please visit the Review Conference site at: http://www.kampala.icc-cpi.info/blogspot

To submit your questions in advance please write to: [email protected] ..."

2. "Press conference by the President of the Assembly of the States Parties," ICC-ASP Press release, 19 May 2010, http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/32131B03-B806-4ED3-A681-EB55FEEE8A7C.htm

"The President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, will hold a press conference on Friday, 28 May, 2010 at 11:00 hours at the Uganda Media Centre, 26 Nile Avenue, Kampala.. ..."

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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:

ICC
P.O. box 19519
2500 CM the Hague
The Netherlands