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Review Conference: Informal Daily Summary - 10 June 2010
10 June 2010
Dear All,

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 at the Review conference on Thursday 10 June 2010 (I); related statements (II); as well as latest news articles and opinions on the conference (III).

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

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.

Regards,

CICC Secretariat
www.coalitionfortheicc.org

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I. INFORMAL SUMMARY OF THE REVIEW CONFERENCE: 10 JUNE 2010
1. CRIME OF AGRESSION
During a morning plenary session, ASP President Christian Wenaweser distributed a draft resolution on the crime of aggression which contained elements of both the proposal put forward by Argentina, Brazil and Switzerland as well the proposal presented by Canada earlier this week. This text continued to reflect the alternative of having a jurisdictional regime solely on the basis of UN Security Council predetermination and one with an additional Pre-Trial Chamber role. The President presented this draft text and encouraged states to hold informal discussions and meet later on the day.
During an afternoon plenary session the ASP President informed delegations that a new draft resolution was to be produced late that night and that in the meantime delegations should keep having informal consultations and should approach him at any time to discuss their views and concerns.
The new draft resolution, which was based on the text put forward during the morning, was finally presented to delegations at around 11pm. The new text continued to include the alternative between a UN Security Council exclusive jurisdictional regime (alternative 1) and a Pre-Trial Chamber filter (alternative 2) as well as other additions such as a possibility for a green light (UN Security Council authorization to proceed with investigation) in alternative 1 and a red light (UN Security Council decision to halt proceedings at the ICC) for alternative 2.
After presenting the draft resolution, the ASP President encouraged delegations to continue holding informal consultations and expressed his openness to receive views from the different delegations.
Finally, the ASP President expressed the intention of having a substantive debate on the draft resolution during the morning session of Friday 11 June, the last day of the Review Conference.
More information on the crime of aggression: http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ASP/ReviewConference/Crime+of+Aggression.htm and http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=review
2. ARTICLE 124
The Plenary adopted a resolution deciding to retain Article 124 from the Rome Statute, but to have an automatic review of the article in five years. Article 124 of the Rome Statute is an optional protocol, a transitional provision, which allows States to choose not to subject their nationals to the Court's jurisdiction over war crimes for a seven year period after ratification.
Taking the floor after the adoption, CICC Members Amnesty International, Parliamentarians for Global Action and Fédération internationale des droits de l'homme (FIDH) to express concerns over the adoption of such a resolution.

Background on article 124: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=article124
3. AMENDMENT OF ARTICLE 8

The plenary adopted by consensus the resolution amending Article 8 of the Rome Statute. It is the first time that the Rome Statute has been amended.

The amendment extends the criminalization of the use of certain weapons which is already criminalized in the context of international armed conflicts to situations of non international armed conflicts.

Following the adoption, France made a declaration in support of the resolution to which Canada, USA and Israel associated themselves.

Amnesty International made a statement welcoming the amendment however also expressing concern regarding certain elements of the resolution.

Background on the amendment: http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=belgianproposal

4. SIDE EVENTS
- Accountability for Political Violence in Guinea
No Peace without Justice and the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices (CI-AF) held a seminar on accountability for political violence in Guinea and the work undertaken by CI-AF, particularly aimed at addressing crimes of violence against women.
More on No Peace Without Justice: http://www.npwj.org/
- “Reviewing the Review Conference”
The Refugee Law Project held a panel on “Reviewing the Review Conference” to reflect on the conference successes and failures with panelists Sunil Pal from the CICC, Pal Wrange of the Swedish delegation, Benson Olugbuo of the University of Cape Town, Hannah Spicher of the University of South Carolina and Moses Chrispus Okello of the Refugee Law project.
More on the Refugee Law project of the Makerere University Faculty of Law: www.refugeelawproject.org/

II. RELATED STATEMENTS

i. “Comments regarding the language included in the resolution amending Article 8 of the Rome Statute, adopted in plenary on 10 June 2010”, Amnesty International,11 June 2010, http://www.iccnow.org/documents/AI_Public_Statement_on_Weapons_Amendment_20100611_SJ.pdf

ii. “Statement by Parliamentarians for Global Action on Article 124”, 10 June 2010, http://www.iccnow.org/documents/PGA_Statement_on_Article_124_-_10_June_2010.pdf
III. LATEST NEWS ARTICLES

i. “Former Nuremberg prosecutor chides U.S., China, Russia”, by Samson Ntale (CNN),
10 June 2010, http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/06/09/uganda.international.criminal.court/

“One of the attorneys who prosecuted Nazi war criminals at the end of World War II cautioned the United States, Russia and China on Wednesday over their opposition to the final inclusion of "crimes of aggression" in the mandate for the International Criminal Court.

‘Crimes of aggression’ were initially included in the court's Rome Statute of 1998, but unlike the other three crimes put under the tribunal's jurisdiction -- genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes -- crimes of aggression were not defined and jurisdictional conditions were not set.

A review conference, which began May 31 in Kampala and continues through Friday, hopes to accept a proposal that will finally give the court what it needs to try cases of crimes against aggression. But the United States, Russia and China have balked.

‘A country should not commit crimes for its own benefit thinking no one will question it,’ said Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor during the 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal that brought top Nazi war officials to justice.

‘This is the time all nations in the world should come in full support of the crime of aggression to be part of crimes tried by ICC so that we put to past impunity and open a new chapter to accountability,’ he said.

As for those opposed, Ferencz said, ‘the court of opinion will judge them harshly.’

Ferencz, 91, accused ‘the big nations’ of delaying inclusion of crimes of aggressions in 1998 ‘because they felt they would dodge it, make it die out completely.’

‘They set up conditions that they felt would never be met,’ he added. ‘They wanted the crime of aggression defined and wanted to be sure that the U.N. Security Council will run the show when the ICC was implementing it.’

The proposal under consideration in Kampala defines crimes of aggression 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’. The trigger for the action is that it violates the U.N. Charters.

But three proposals are under consideration regarding when and how an investigation might proceed. Two proposals require the U.N. Security Council to determine whether an act of aggression has been committed, but one of those allows an investigation to proceed without the Security Council determination for six months.

….. ‘I hope that President Obama, after accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, will also support the ICC on crimes of aggression and that Russia and China will not find it acceptable to commit the old mistakes to stop the process,’ he said….”

ii. “ICC, must determine crime of aggression, African states insist”, by Alfred Nyongesa Wandera (Daily Monitor), 10 June 2010, http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/935826/-/x0t47c/-/

“The 3O Africa states that are parties to the Rome Statute have unanimously agreed that it is the International Criminal Court and not the UN Security Council that shall determine whether crime of aggression has been committed.

Speaking to Daily Monitor in an exclusive interview at the ongoing ICC Review Conference in Kampala, the African delegation led by Sierra Leone Deputy Foreign minister Vandi Chidi Minah, said they are determined to convince states opposed to their proposition.

‘We shall listen and clarify to those with opposing views and bring all of them on board. We shall achieve this by way of consensus,’ said Mr Minah, who exuded confidence that the Kampala meet will operationalise the crime of aggression.

The Kenyan ambassador and permanent representative of Kenya mission to UN Zachary Muburi-Muita said by ICC wielding powers to determine whether crime of aggression has been committed is democratising international political system.

‘Instead of having only the five permanent members to the UN Security Council decide for the whole world whether the crime has been committed, we want the authority to be in hands of all state parties to the Rome Statute through ICC,’ said Mr Muburi-Muita.

To galvanise the Kenyan ambassador’s statement, Botswana Attorney General Dr Athaliah Molokomme said although the world acknowledges that UN is charged with the responsibility to ensure global peace and security, it does not wield exclusive role.

‘That is why African state parties to the Rome Statute want the ICC to complement the UN Security Council’s role in keeping international peace and security. Let Security Council play the political role whereas the ICC plays the legal role to balance the two,’ said Dr Molokomme.

She added that the concept of ICC is a new phenomenon in the international legal system and may take time for all countries in the world to come to terms with.

But the clock is ticking towards Friday when the conference closes and the world is watching whether the crime of aggression will become operational by the ICC….”

iii. “ICC urges Uganda to arrest Bashir should he attend talks”, by Alfred Nyongesa Wandera (Daily Nation), 9 June 2010, http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/ICC urges Uganda to arrest Bashir should he attend talks/-/1066/935434/-/iy5gtw/-/

“President of the Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court has insisted that Uganda must arrest Sudan President Omar al-Bashir should he visit the country during the AU summit due in Kampala in July.

In a statement released yesterday to media at the ongoing ICC Review Conference in Kampala, Mr Christian Wenaweser said since Uganda is a party to the Rome Statute, it has to fulfil its mandate as stipulated in the Statute.

‘I’m looking forward to seeing a statement from the Ugandan government that is less equivocal than what we have seen over the past few days. What’s important from our perspective is Uganda is a state party to the Rome Statute so it has an obligation to fully cooperate with the provisions of that statute and we would like to see a statement to that affect,’ Mr Wenaweser’s statement reads in part.

It adds: ‘Certainly confusion has been created, I have been in contact with senior Ugandan officials and told them it was in their interest and the interest of this conference that they would make a statement that is clearer than what they have done so far, and in particular make reference to the fact that they are a state party to the ICC.’

The statement comes at a time when Uganda backtracked on an earlier decision not to invite Mr Bashir to a summit in Kampala because he is wanted by the International Criminal Court. ‘President Bashir of Sudan was actually invited for the AU summit scheduled to take place in Kampala from the July 19 to July 29,’ said a statement from Uganda’s ministry of Foreign Affairs….”

iv. Interview: “‘True African Leaders Have Nothing to Fear From ICC’”, Evelyn Kiapi interviews activist and Nobel laureate WANGARI MAATHAI, IPS News, 10 June 2010, http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/nota.asp?idnews=51780

“As the first Review Conference of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court takes stock of the ICC's achievements and considers amendments to strengthen the pursuit of justice around the world, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize is one of its strongest defenders.

Wangari Maathai is internationally recognised for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation.

The founder of The Green Belt Movement, which works to curtail the devastating effects of deforestation and desertification, spoke to IPS in Kampala, Uganda, calling the ICC the only hope for many who have been denied justice in Africa and around the world….”

v. “ANALYSIS: Mixed report card for ICC”, IRIN News, 10 June 2010, http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=89423

“The International Criminal Court (ICC) is beginning to deliver justice to survivors of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but the world has yet to fully commit to ending impunity for the gravest crimes, according to participants at a conference reviewing the court’s legal foundation.

‘The Rome Statute has been described as the greatest advance in international law since the UN Charter,’ Oby Nwankwo, executive director of Nigeria’s Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre, said in Uganda, where the 31 May-11 June conference is taking place. ‘While the ICC has its shortcomings, it provides a backstop to impunity.’

Established by the Statute on 1 July 2002, the ICC now has 111 state parties, 18 judges, and field offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad. It is conducting investigations in the DRC, Uganda, CAR, Kenya and Sudan, and has issued 13 arrest warrants for eight cases….”

vi. “US delegation softens stance, ICC to handle crime of aggression”, Cyprian Musoke, New Vision, 9 June 2010, http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/722276

“STATE representatives attending the International Criminal Court (ICC) review conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo, yesterday agreed that the court should prosecute the crime of aggression.

The decision followed a compromise paper, presented by Argentina, Brazil and Switzerland, which changed the position of the US delegation.

The team was opposed to giving the ICC jurisdiction over the crime, saying it is a preserve of the UN Security Council.

The paper, however, proposed that where the council has noted an act of aggression, it will refer the matter to the ICC prosecutor.

The paper, whose proposals were adopted in the ICC legislation, added that the prosecutor will notify the UN secretary general on any cases of aggression, with relevant information and documentation.

Any organ outside the court can determine an act of aggression, but this should not prejudice the court’s own findings, it added.

In a paper presented by the assistant deputy state secretary, William Lietzau, the US said: ‘An act cannot be considered a violation of the law before proving that it was undertaken without the consent of the relevant state, the UN Security Council or if it was taken in self-defence.’

‘An act undertaken to prevent committing crime should not constitute an act of aggression,’ he added….”

vii. “The ICC Review Conference Rollercoaster”, Brett D. Schaefer, National Review Online, 9 June 2010, http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MjVlOGQ1ZTgyYzJiM2U5YjhhNjNmNDdlMjgyZDVlNWQ

“Typically, international conferences like the Review Conference of the International Criminal Court are predictable, even boring. The months (or, in this case, years) prior to the conference are spent in meetings, sifting through various positions and policy redlines among the delegations, so that differences are minor by the time the conference kicks off, making the path to a consensus agreement clear.

The most important priority for the conference organizers and many of the delegates is that the conference be viewed as a “success.” On rare occasions, conferences deadlock on major issues, and the delegates eventually agree on a less ambitious final agreement than was originally envisioned. Inevitably, this watered-down outcome is nevertheless presented as a triumph.

Extremely rare is an international conference than cannot be viewed as anything other than a failure. The 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was one: Not only were the delegates unable to agree to a binding agreement, but they failed to achieve consensus support for the non-binding Copenhagen Accord.

What is happening in Kampala is the reverse of the typical pattern for international conferences. Instead of a gradual convergence around a common proposal or text as countries compromise or abandon positions that lack broad support, in Kampala we have seen new proposals for the amendment on the crime of aggression pop up like mushrooms…..”

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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.

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