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Tenth Anniversary of the Rome Statute: Continued Coverage
22 July 2008
Please find below additional coverage of the tenth anniversary of the
Rome Statute—the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court
(ICC)—on 17 July 2008.
This message includes government statements, news articles covering
CICC and member activities, and opinion pieces.
To view the full-text of speeches and declarations, see
Due to the high volume of news articles on this topic; please note
that this message is not exhaustive.
Some of the press articles in this message mention specific situations
before the Court. Please take note of the Coalition's policy on
situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date
information about the ICC.
I. GOVERNMENT STATEMENTS
"Statement on the tenth anniversary of the Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court," Spanish Council of Ministers, 18 July
"The Council of Ministers approved today an Agreement by which the
Government makes a formal statement on the tenth anniversary of the
adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Since yesterday, July 17, was the tenth anniversary of the adoption of
the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Council of
Ministers approved a commemorative statement for this landmark event,
a milestone in the struggle against impunity for the major crimes
against humankind: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
...Spain has cooperated actively in the process of adoption of the
Rome Statute and in the effective establishment of the International
Criminal Court, thus it is firmly committed to human rights and the
adoption of criminal legislation, and has adopted domestic legislation
that enables cooperation between our country and the ICC.
...We call on countries not yet party to the Rome Statute to accede or
Translation is unofficial and provided by the CICC Secretariat.
Also available at:
II. CICC AND MEMBER NEWS COVERAGE
i. "World Celebrates the Anniversary of the Rome Statute" ("Wereld
viert verjaardag Statuut van Rome"), Netherlands National News Agency
(ANP), 17 July 2008,
(in Dutch )
"With numerous events held worldwide, Thursday marked the anniversary
of the adoption of the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the
International Criminal Court according to the Coalition for the ICC, a
network of human rights organizations that counts Amnesty
International, Human Rights Watch and FIDH as members. The CICC works
for a fair, effective and permanent Court. Coalition members have
planned events from Africa to Asia. In India, for example, a country
which has yet ratified the Rome Statute, the national coalition will
host an hour-long program on the Court on national television.
Translation is unofficial and provided by CICC Secretariat.
ii. "Ten years on, some step towards justice," by Irene de Vette (IPS
"The Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC)
was adopted 10 years ago. The ICC is the first and only permanent
international criminal tribunal to prosecute individuals accused of
genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity...
...The Coalition for the International Court (CICC), a global network
of over 2,500 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) advocating a fair,
effective and independent ICC, sees the report as a `great tool', a
CICC spokesperson at The Hague told IPS. The CICC has organised
several events to mark the tenth anniversary of the Rome Statute.
One of these events took place at the Peace Palace in The Hague Jul.
3, attended by Princess Máxima. Maxime Verhagen, Dutch Minister for
Foreign Affairs, told a gathering of diplomats, members of
international courts, those responsible for drafting the Rome Statute,
academics and members of the court that the Netherlands was proud to
host the ICC."
iii. "Rights Group Marks International Justice Day," Afrique en Ligne,
17 July 2008,
"Rights-based organizations under the umbrella of Coalition of
International Criminal Court (CICC) on Thursday commemorated
International Justice Day coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the
adoption of Rome Statute the treaty which gave birth to the
International Criminal Court (ICC).
`This day marks one of the most important achievements in
international law since the adoption of UN Charter in 1948,' said Mr
William Pace, the convenor of CICC.
`Today we celebrate a treaty that constitutes a milestone for peace
and security. The Rome Statute is the advancement of a dream, a dream
of human security,' he added.
According to Mr. Pace, members of the coalition numbering over 2,500
organizations around the world would be celebrating the day..."
iv. "Leadership urged to ratify Rome Statute," Bahrain Tribune, 19
July 2008 (link unavailable)
"Non-governmental organizations have called on the Bahrain government
to sign the much-delayed Rome Statute of the International Criminal
Court (ICC). The ICC foundation treaty completed 10 years on Thursday.
By signing the accord, Bahrain can take an active part in the
international process of justice, according to Nasser Burdestani,
Bahraini representative of the Gulf Coalition for International
Criminal Court [Coordinator of the Bahraini Coalition for the ICC]....
`Activists and lawmakers from around the world organised events to
mark the ICC's 10th anniversary. Bahrain like other Arab countries has
still not taken a strong stance on signing the Rome statute,'
Burdestani told the Tribune yesterday. He said 107 states were members
of the ICC and Jordan, Comoros and Djibouti were the only three Arab
members. `The Rome Statute must be seen as an important instrument to
avoid impunity for the most severe atrocities. Muslims are being
killed in Darfur and our lawmakers are protecting Al Bashir from war
crimes and mass genocide,' Burdestani said, referring to Al Asala
bloc's call on Arab states to withdraw support from ICC following the
arrest warrant issued against Sudanese President Omar Al
Bashir....Bahrain signed the ICC statute in December 2000, but is yet
to ratify or implement it....When Bahrain's human rights record was
reviewed at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nizar bin Sadeq Al Baharna,
said the Kingdom was considering ratifying the Statute by this year. "
"Ten Years of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC: What
lessons to draw ?" ("10 ans du Statut de Rome instituant la Cour
Pénale Internationale: quelles leçons tirées?"), Issue 8 of the
ISSANDA brochure by ACADHOSHA (Member of the DRC Coalition for the
ICC) July 2008, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/Issandan8juillet.pdf
III. MORE NEWS COVERAGE
i. "Without justice no peace in Darfur," Diederik van Hoogstraten
(Volkskrant), 19 July 2008,
"The establishment of the International Criminal Court is celebrated
ten years later in New York. But its success is fragile.
In a low voice Niemat Ahmadi speaks about murders, rapes, arson and
fear. But also about hope and optimism. `On Monday the people in
Darfur could sleep again', says the woman from Sudan, the country from
which in 2005 she fled. She sits at a podium in an enormous room at
the United Nations in New York. The Chief Prosecutor from the
International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is also there.
Ahmadi nods to him. `We sleep better thanks to your work.'
...The commemoration lasted the whole day, with addresses to which
diplomats listened or would obviously not listen, as it always goes at
the UN. But it has been caught up at the same time by news. Last
Monday, Moreno-Ocampo was in the news worldwide an arrest warrant was
requested for the president of Sudan [...]
This, explains Ahmadi, was the reason for the improved night's rest in
But the Al-Bashir case exposes the dilemma of the Court. The Sudanese
government rejects the charge as `politically motivated'. [...]
At the same time the Sudanese [government] have started a campaign to
get the African Union, the Arab the league and Security Council
members Russia and China on their side.
[...] Some diplomats in New York support this idea, but would not say
it in public. The striving towards justice for the victims in Darfur
could stand in the way of the peace process.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also acknowledges that the situation
is precarious. `We must strike a balance between the obligation of
justice and the endeavor for peace.'
Moreno-Ocampo stresses that the Court is independent and must remain
so, and not let itself be framed as `a political factor'. That opinion
finds other vehicles at the ICC conference, especially in Niemat
Ahmadi of the Save Darfur Coalition. Don't come to her with `caution'
and `respect' for peace talks. Al-Bashir is a cynic, she says, who
seizes every opportunity to gain time. He has certainly not changed
his mind: `He only responds to international pressure.'
In the meantime, civilians, aid workers and blue helmets in the
plagued region are still dying, while the problematic agreement on the
UN peacekeeping force has only led to a small, powerless group of UN
The slow `acting' of the international community does not stand in the
way of the ambitions of the Court, argues Richard Dicker of Human
Rights Watch. `The danger is that the ICC is used for important,
though not legal reasons.' Such a cooptation would undermine its
The name of the Court implies in particular the end of immunity.
Signatories of the statute accept that their citizens can no longer
rely on immunity from prosecution and the protection of their State.
But many commentators recall how young the court is; how fragile the
mandate is. Power politics and sovereignty can affect the work and the
reputation of the ICC.
Thus issues Nicolas Michel, an outgoing advisor of Ban Ki-moon, a
request: `Please protect this new culture in which impunity no longer
remains a priority.'
These are loaded words, especially in connection with the big absentee
in the `list of 107': the United States. The Americans withdrew at the
last moment a decade ago and are still not involved in the ICC. `I am
proud to be here,' says David Scheffer, who was then the main American
negotiator. He hopes that under a new president the US will `return in
a cooperative way' to the bosom of the Court.
Meanwhile, US fears that the arrows would only turn on Western
countries have proven unfounded. In fact, it is only Africans that
Moreno-Ocampo has put under fire.
Questions surround the timing of the indictment against Al-Bashir. A
publicity stunt, so soon before the ten year anniversary celebrations?
Says Moreno-Ocampo: 'I did it when I had clarified my evidence.'
It is Thursday when Niemat Ahmadi brings the attention back to the
victims. The Court is there to protect them and to give them redress.
`Those who say that peace and justice cancel each other out are
prolonging the suffering. What does peace mean to the many thousands
of girls and women who were raped? For the hundreds of thousands of
children who have become orphans?' Ahmati turned the argument inside
out: there can be no peace without justice. `I know it is difficult.
But not impossible.'"
Translation is unofficial and provided by CICC Secretariat.
ii. "Justice Sector Holds symposium on Justice and Impunity for Sierra
Leone," by Bintu A Sesay (Awareness Times), 18 July 2008,
"To mark the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute of
the International Criminal Court and also in recognition of this all
important day in the administration of Justice Manifesto 99, the
Justice Sector Coordination Office in the Ministry of Justice in
collaboration with the Justice Sector Development Programme has on
Thursday 17th July 2008 held a one day symposium at the Miatta
Conference Hall in Freetown.
The anniversary had as it theme, `Justice and Impunity, the Way
Forward for Sierra Leone!'
According to the Acting Chief Justice of Sierra Leone Justice, Umu
Hawa Tejan Jalloh, there is a need to deal with the backlogs and
delays that continue to beset the formal justice system such as the
civil, criminal and juvenile. She said the new institutional
arrangements put in place by this strategy to enhance cooperation,
coordination and communication between the many actors involved in
bringing even a simple case to the magistrate court, is critical in
In her concluding remarks, she pleaded to the legislative to make
improvement in the administration of law our country."
i. "ICC suffers negative image in Africa,"by Barbara Among (Newropeans
Magazine online), 17 July 2008,
"Ten years after its creation, the International Criminal Court (ICC)
is yet to address the negative perception it bears in most of the
African countries in which it operates. This observation is contained
in a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report issued to mark the 10-year
anniversary of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC in the
Netherlands in The Hague.
...The HRW report, Courting History, said the court's investigations
have been quite professional, but there was need for the office of the
prosecutor to better its image.
`Despite this considerable progress, our field research in the DRC,
Uganda, and Chad in 2007 revealed that misinformation and negative
perceptions surrounding the court's work are deeply-rooted and will
require more intense and creative efforts by the court to address them
effectively,' the report read.
Released yesterday, the report assessed the court's first five years.
The rights body urged greater international support for the ICC in
meeting its political and financial challenges.
The report said the ICC's failure to either investigate or prosecute
Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF) abuses or to explain why this
was not being done, had further tarnished its image.
...The rights watchdog called upon the prosecutor's office to explain
its policy regarding the gravity threshold in selecting cases, as well
as the limits imposed by its temporal jurisdiction in pursuing cases
against the UPDF.
`The negative perception is aggravated by the office of the
prosecutor's failure to communicate effectively with affected
communities about its activities with regard to crimes committed by
HRW called upon the UN court to focus on outreach with affected
communities in Uganda. It, however, pointed out that the ICC had made
progress in bringing justice for the worst crimes despite its mistakes."
ii. "Ten years on and justice still needs a fighter," by Ian Munro
(Sydney Morning Herald), 19 July 2008,
"There were smiles and handshakes in New York as the International
Criminal Court this week celebrated its birth a decade ago.
But in Khartoum, fists were raised and flames licked at posters
bearing the image of the court's prosecutor as protesters chanted
'death to Ocampo'.
The phlegmatic Luis Moreno-Ocampo is the man who is doing his best to
make the court more than a feel-good diplomatic instrument. He is
determined to prosecute Sudan's President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, with
genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Far from heeding the
backlash that erupted earlier this week after announcing he would seek
a warrant for Mr al-Bashir's arrest, Mr Moreno-Ocampo said on Thursday
that he was focusing on another war crime case in the region, this
time involving two suspected rebel commanders allegedly directing
attacks against peacekeepers in Darfur.
...Speaking to the Herald this week, he denied the charges against Mr
al-Bashir were politically motivated or timed to coincide with the
10th anniversary of the signing of the Rome Statute which created the
court. `My responsibility is to investigate cases, to present evidence
to the judges. I have no political responsibility … I did it when I
had my evidence ready,' he said...."
CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the
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
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,
secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or
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
the course of their efforts.
Communications to the ICC can be sent to:
P.O. box 19519
2500 CM the Hague