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Review Conference: Informal Daily Summary - 4 June 2010
04 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 on June 4th in the General Debate (I); side-events (II); related documents (III); as well as news articles on the conference

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


1. PLENARY

On the fifth day of the Review Conference, states delegates and observers started discussions on proposed amendments to the Rome Statute:
- The crime of aggression;
- The inclusion of the criminalization of the use of certain weapons as war crimes (article 8) in the context of an armed conflict of a non-international character; and
- The review of article 124 of the Rome Statute.

A. CRIME OF AGGRESSION

The Working Group on the crime aggression held two sessions in which a number of states parties, observer states and NGOs presented their overall positions, views and concern with respect to the amendments on the crime of aggression.

Presentations were mostly focused on two papers introduced by the Chair of the Working Group: a 'Conference Room Paper on the Crime of Aggression', which includes an annex concerning understandings regarding the amendments, as well a non-paper on 'Further elements for a solution on the Crime of Aggression'.

The delegation of Brazil introduced a compromise proposal for the consideration of the Working Group. This proposal consists of a combination of entry into force mechanisms allowing different jurisdictional filters to apply to investigations on the crime of aggression at different stages.

NGOs Amnesty International, Union Internationale des Avocats, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists - Kenya presented their views during the session.

RELATED DOCUMENTS AND LINKS:

- Conference Room Paper on the Crime of Aggression, RC/WGCA/1, 25 May 2010: http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/RC2010/RC-WGCA-1-ENG.pdf

- Non-paper containing further elements for a solution on the Crime of Aggression, RC/WGCA/2, 25 May 2010, http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/RC2010/RC-WGCA-2-ENG.pdf

- Resolution ICC-ASP/8/Res.6 on the Review Conference:
http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/Resolutions/ICC-ASP-8-Res.6-ENG.pdf

- Informal inter-sessional meeting on the crime of aggression, hosted by the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Woodrow Wilson School, at the Princeton Club, New York, from 8 to 10 June 2009: http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/ASP8/ICC-ASP-8-INF.2-ENG.pdf

- Background on the crime of aggression: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=aggression

B. ARTICLE 8

Today, the Working Group on "other amendments" adopted by consensus the Belgian proposal amending article 8 of the Rome Statute.

This amendment extends the criminalization of the use of poison, poisoned weapons, asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and all analogous liquids, materials or devices as well as the use of bullets that expand or flatten in the body to situations of armed conflicts of a NON-INTERNATIONAL character. The use of those weapons is already incriminated by article 8 of the Statute in case of situations of international armed conflict.

The ICRC and numerous NGOs supported this initiative with a view to enhancing greater protection of civilians and combatants in situations of non-international conflict.

RELATED DOCUMENTS AND LINKS:

- Draft resolution amending article 8 of the Rome Statute, RC/WGOA/1/Rev.2, 4 June 2010: http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/rdonlyres/234A4C10-5526-4F4E-8C36-A37A7D91D963/0/RCWGOA1Rev2ENG.pdf

- Background on the Belgian proposal: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=belgianproposal

C. ARTICLE 124

An initial discussion on the revision of article 124 took place in the afternoon.

The delegation of Venezuela presented a possible solution which would include a 'sunset clause' that will make the provision automatically expire after a specific period of time. Although some states parties supported this initiative, a number of non-states parties took the floor to caution against the deletion of the article because of the repercussions it could have for universality. Amnesty International intervened stating that this provision amounts to a 'license to kill' and effective impunity for war crimes.

Article 124 of the 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. The article itself provides that it must be reviewed at the Review Conference. This revision could amount to the deletion, retention or modification of the provision.

RELATED DOCUMENTS AND LINKS:

- Resolution ICC-ASP/8/Res.6 on the Review Conference:
http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/Resolutions/ICC-ASP-8-Res.6-ENG.pdf

- Background on article 124: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=article124

2. SIDE EVENTS

- Parallel to the conference, DOMAC, Redress and Denmark, co-sponsored by South Africa held a one-day seminar on 'The joint role of international and national courts in prosecuting serious crimes and providing reparations to victims: the African experience' with high level speakers from the academia, NGOs, governments, and international organizations. The seminar aimed at discussing ways to improve coordination of national and international proceedings, with a view to optimizing the complementarity nature of international and national courts.
Read more on the DOMAC project at: http://www.domac.is/ More on REDRESS: http://www.redress.org/

- The Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice held a press conference featuring women's rights activists from four conflict situations and Brigid Inder, Executive Director of the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice. The Women's Initiatives delegation includes 35 women's rights and peace activists from Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan. Read more at: http://www.iccwomen.org/news/berichtdetail.php?we_objectID=74

- The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ- Kenya) held a panel on 'Preventative aspects of prosecutorial justice at the ICC review Conference 2010', focusing on comparative deliberations on the Kenyan and Uganda complementarity challenge. Speakers included Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maathai, Head of the Uganda High Court War crimes Division Justice Akiiki-Kiiza, LSE Professor Tim Allen, ICJ-Kenya Director George Kegoro, OSI Deputy Director Pascal Kambale, Pan African Lawyers Union CEO Donald Deya, and ICTJ Head Mirna Adjami. The panel assessed the effect of prosecutions at both national and international level and in particular the complementarity challenge faced by Uganda, Kenya and the DRC.
More on ICJ-Kenya: http://www.icj-kenya.org/

- The International Bar Association and the ICC launched a national campaign to increase the number of Ugandan female lawyers authorized to practice before the ICC, with interventions by Judge Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya of the Special War Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda, ICC Registrar Silvana Arbia and Athaliah L. Molokomme, and Attorney-General of Botswana. The campaign is a part of a broader, international six-month campaign jointly-conducted by the ICC and the IBA to encourage experienced female lawyers from Africa to play a crucial role at the ICC by representing victims or defendants in proceedings before the Court.
Read ICC Press release on the event: http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/707D696A-A7A7-4DDB-AD9D-001708480DCF.htm

- Canada hosted a meeting of the board members to the Justice Rapid Response (JRR). The meeting was co-chaired by JRR Coordinator Andras Vamos-Goldman of Canada and NPWJ Alison Smith. JRR is a multilateral stand-by facility to deploy rapidly criminal justice and related professionals, trained for international investigations and at the service of States and international institutions. The purpose of this meeting was to update JRR Policy Group members and other interested delegations at the Review Conference on the latest developments and to engage in a policy discussion relating to the JRR's potential to enhance cooperation and complementarity.
Learn more on the JRR: http://www.justicerapidresponse.org/

- A meeting on ''Transitional 'justice' in Afghanistan'' was held in the People's space by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) to discuss the challenges of implementing transitional justice in the country, with interventions from Alison Smith of NPWJ and Dallas Mazoori of the AIHR.
Read more on the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission: http://www.aihrc.org.af/

- NPWJ also organized the launch of the book 'Closing the gap: the role of non-judicial mechanisms in addressing impunity', based on extensive research and studies in 12 countries that have implemented transitional justice measures and analyzing the role that non-judicial mechanisms can play in addressing impunity for crimes under international law.
Read more on NPWJ's Non-Judicial-Accountability project: http://www.npwj.org/ICC/Non-Judicial-Accountability.html

- The Refugee Law Project organized the launch of Beyond Juba Working paper 2: 'Why being able to return home should be part of transitional justice: Urban IDPs in Kampala and their quest for a durable solution.'
Read the paper at: http://www.refugeeresearch.net/node/662

- The Open Society Justice Initiative and the International Refugee Rights Initiative held a meeting on 'NGOs and the ICC: A state of the Union?' with NGO representatives, Court officials, States representatives and international bars to take stock of the NGO experiences in working with the Court and the Rome Statute.
Speakers included Ambassador of Ireland to the Netherlands Mary Whelan, ICC-VPRS chief Fiona McKay, CICC Convener William Pace and lawyer and victims' representatives Raymond Brown.
More on IRRI at: http://beta.irri.org/index.php/Home/Welcome/Frontpage.html and OSI at: http://www.soros.org/

II. ICC PRESS RELEASE

i. "Video summaries of the panel discussion on the impact of the work of the ICC on victims and affected communities, http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/87B47552-F300-46D6-98C3-6019DC128733.htm
ii. ICC Press: Stocktaking of international criminal justice: Peace and Justice: http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/D9821939-80B4-487A-9A3F-C5D794B27161.htm
iii. Review Conference: ICC President and Prosecutor participate in panels on complementarity and co-operation: http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/0A7DEDFE-4308-4487-992D-1ED77AB5CAAE.htm
iv. "A delegation from the ICC Committee on Budget and Finance meets affected communities in Ituri (DRC)", ICC Press Office, 4 June 2010, http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/020427B3-E2E8-4CEB-9E09-0F8A6B78DC88.htm
v. "ICC and IBA launch national "Calling African Female Lawyers" campaign in Uganda", 4 June 2010, http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/exeres/707D696A-A7A7-4DDB-AD9D-001708480DCF.htm
III. LATEST PUBLICATIONS AND PRESS RELEASES
i. "Briefing on the International Criminal Court Conference in Kampala, Uganda" US State Department, 2 June 2010, US State Dept: http://www.state.gov/s/wci/us_releases/remarks/142585.htm

ii. "ICC Review Conference: NPWJ calls for a stronger international criminal justice system, through implementation, cooperation and an intensified ICC field presence", NPWJ, 1 June 2010, http://www.npwj.org/ICC/ICC-Review-Conference-NPWJ-calls-a-stronger-international-criminal-justice-system-through-implem

iii. "International Criminal Court offers hope of justice for women", Nobel Women's Initiative, 4 June 2010, http://www.nobelwomensinitiative.org/home/article/international-criminal-court-media-release

iv. "Genocide War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: A Topical Digest of the Case Law of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia", Spanish translation by Universidad Iberoamericana, Human Rights Watch, "Genocidio, Crimenes de Guerra y Crimenes de Lesa Humanidad: Compendio Tematico sobre Jurisprudencia del Tribunal Penal Internacional para la Antigua Yugoslavia, http://www.uia.mx/web/files/publicaciones/genocidio-abril2010.pdf

v. "Algunas consideraciones de las organizaciones colombianas, de víctimas y sociales como contribución a las discusiones sobre los temas propuestos en la agenda de la Conferencia de Revisión del Estatuto de Roma por la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI)," ONGs colombianas, 4 June 2010 (in Spanish)
http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/ComunicadoOrganizaciones_ColombiaConferenciaCPI.pdf

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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