Credit: Nations Online
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Firmly committed to the establishment of the Court, the Americas was one of the most engaged and active regions supporting the idea of an International Criminal Court and the effective entry into force of the Rome Statute. To date, out of the 35 countries in the Americas, 28 have become States Parties to the Court: 12 in the Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago); 15 in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela,); and Canada. In cooperation with key civil society organizations, the CICC closely monitors developments and undertakes actions geared toward achieving additional ratifications by the countries in the region, providing up-to-date information on ICC issues, liaising with regional organizations to disseminate broader knowledge about the Court and to uphold the principles it embodies, and monitoring ICC implementing legislation processes, including ratification of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Court (APIC).
The support of the region has motivated, since 1999, the adoption of resolutions by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding the promotion of the ICC.
In the Americas, initiatives to implement the Rome Statute were launched soon after ratification. Despite these initial strides, significant work remains to really complete the effective implementation of the Rome Treaty into national law. To date only Argentina, Canada, Chile, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay have enacted legislation, but other countries are engaging in these efforts as well. In close coordination with our national members, the Coalition works to assist governments in such endeavors.
Represented by Chief Prosecutor, H.E. Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo from Argentina and Judges Elizabeth Odio Benito from Costa Rica, Rene Blattmann from Bolivia, and Sylvia Steiner from Brazil, there is an encouraging degree of commitment and participation at the ICC from high level officials from the Americas region.
List of Subregions
Latin American governments have been firm supporters of the ICC, actively engaging in efforts to ratify and implement the Rome Statute in the region. In collaboration with civil society organizations, academics, government officials and parliamentarians, advocacy efforts have mobilized diverse constituencies to consolidate Latin America as one of the Court’s staunchest supporters. To date, out of the 17 States in the region, 15 have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute of the ICC. El Salvador, Guatemala[LG1] and Nicaragua are the only countries that have yet to finalize their ratification processes in order to ensure a fully committed representation from this region.
Ensuring that governments follow up and implement the Rome Statute into national legislation is a key area of interest for the Coalition. Several countries – including Brazil and Bolivia – have advanced implementing legislation initiatives, while others, such as Peru, have undergone an extensive process of reform of their criminal code, including the adoption of a whole chapter on cooperation with the ICC. Other countries – like Ecuador, Mexico and Paraguay – have initiated such processes but still need to continue their efforts in order to harmonize their internal laws with the Rome Statute’s obligations.
The Caribbean region has historically been a critical contributor in the development of the ICC. In 1989, Trinidad and Tobago, led by then Prime Minister Arthur N.R. Robinson, submitted to the 44th General Assembly a new agenda item for consideration of the establishment of an ICC. By the end of that year, and with the support of a number of other countries including all Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states, a motion was piloted through the UN system which resulted in the adoption of a resolution by consensus calling for the creation of an International Criminal Court. This intervention and support from the region paved the way to the Rome Statute’s adoption in 1998
To date, more than half of all Caribbean nations – including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago – have ratified the Rome Statute. Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica are the only three CARICOM countries that are yet to become State Parties. In February 2006, Trinidad and Tobago became the first country in the Caribbean to enact ICC Implementing legislation, therefore fulfilling its emergent obligations under the Rome Statute.
Belize, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago have ratified the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court and the Bahamas and Jamaica are signatories to the Agreement.
Canada and U.S.A.
Canada has been involved from the very beginning of the modern effort to establish the ICC and has been providing leadership, advocacy and resources in support of the ICC ever since. Canada chaired the ‘Like-Minded Group’ during the Rome Diplomatic Conference to present a united and supportive position on the ICC and broker agreement on the Rome Statute’s main provisions. In 2000, Canada became the first country to adopt comprehensive implementing legislation on the Rome Statute. Mr. Philippe Kirsch, who chaired negotiations at the 1998 Rome Diplomatic Conference and the Preparatory Commission, was elected as an ICC Judge in February 2003 and as the Court’s President in March 2003. Canada ratified the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities (APIC) in June 2004. As the 10th State to ratify APIC, Canada triggered APIC’s entry into force in July 2004. The Canadian Government hosts a [[website]] ((http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/foreign_policy/icc/welcome-en.asp)) which showcases Canada’s contribution to the effort to create the ICC and a section to promote the signature, ratification and implementation of the International Criminal Court.
While Canada has been strongly supportive of the Court, the United States has a recent history of opposition to the ICC. Since Nuremberg, the United States had historically supported international mechanisms to enhance accountability. United States’ President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute on December 31 December 2000, the last day that it was open for signature. Shortly after the Bush Administration entered office and just before the 1 July 2002 entry into force of the Rome Statute, US President George W. Bush “nullified” the Clinton signature on 6 May 2002, alleging that the United States would no longer be involved in the ICC process and that it did not consider itself as having any legal obligations under the treaty. The legality of such a “nullification” is unclear and the subject of debate by international legal scholars. Since 2002, the Bush
Administration has undertaken a policy of active opposition to the Court through a global campaign to obtain immunity from ICC jurisdiction through a multi-pronged approach.