The Global Citizen: International Criminal Court
Now that both the Democrats and the Republicans have released their official party platforms for 2012, they can be compared side-by-side. We've done all of the legwork for you and have summarized their main stances on a number of issues. Hyperlinks are included and they will take you to the pertinent section of that party's platform if you want to read the actual text.
Update September 6: Changes made on the floor of the Democratic Convention have resulted in the platform stating that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that the status of Jerusalem as an Israeli holding is a condition for any peace talks.
Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp, U.S. Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice, spoke on July 4th in Delft at "A Grotian Moment: The International Criminal Court, The U.S. and The Hague Tradition."
It’s exciting to hear Ambassador Rapp speaking about the U.S. and the ICC at such an event. I hope this signals good things to come for the relationship between the U.S. and the Court and our country’s continued engagement with the ICC.
Watch Ambassador Rapp's speech below:
We're excited to announce a unique opportunity to join our exclusive webinar, "A Giant Step Towards 'Never Again:' 10 Years of International Justice." The webinar will be held this Saturday at 1:00 PM EST and feature a discussion on the International Criminal Court as it celebrates the 10th anniversary since its creation. The webinar will feature esteemed speakers Luis Moreno Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, and Ben Ferencz, professor and former Nuremberg Prosecutor.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent international judicial body capable of trying individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so. Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002 thereby creating the Court and its ability to prosecute war criminals.
As of April 2012, 121 states are parties to the Statue of the Court and thirty-two others, including the United States, have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. There have been 28 indictments, 20 warrants of arrest, 15 cases brought to the Court, six of which are currently on trial, and 9 successful summonses. The court celebrated a landmark moment when it completed its first trial in March 2012, convicting Thomas Lubanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of using child soldiers.
Today, the International Criminal Court's (ICC) first trial was completed with the sentencing of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to fourteen years in prison. Lubanga, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was found guilty by the Court in March of conscripting child soldiers for use in battle.
This first sentencing is certainly a landmark moment for the ICC. It's good to see the Court complete a trial and ensure that a vicious warlord will be put away, though it's a bit disheartening to see the length of the sentence is shorter than what the ICC Prosecutor had recommended. The prosecution had asked for Lubanga to serve 30 years for his crimes. His sentence is further reduced because the six years he's been in custody will count toward his incarceration, so he will only serve an additional eight years (with the possibility of getting out even sooner due to good behavior).
With all that said, I'm still happy to see some measure of justice done in today's sentencing of Lubanga. I'm proud to see the ICC reach this milestone moment, and I hope this sentence brings some measure of peace to Lubanga's victims and their families. I look forward to a future in which the Court succeeds in putting many other war criminals behind bars where they belong.
For those of us who are passionate about international justice, yesterday marked an extraordinary milestone. The International Criminal Court (ICC), the world's first permanent international court, celebrated its 10th anniversary. However, its roots go back much further than a mere decade.
The ICC traces its heritage in part back to the Nuremberg trials after World War Two, in which the U.S. played a leading role. Nazi war criminals were put on trial and brought to justice for horrific crimes against humanity committed during the war, and the international community vowed "never again" to allow such atrocities to happen on its watch. Tragically, this promise remained unfulfilled as the 20th century continued to witness genocides in places as diverse as Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and Sudan. The need for a permanent international body to bring war criminals to justice remained glaring.
In 1998, representatives from around the world met in Rome, Italy to firm up plans for such an international court. The result was the Rome Statute and the creation of the ICC. The Court officially came into being on July 1, 2002.
Sixty-seven years ago, the world came together in the hopes of creating an international institution that would advance international peace and security, vowing that the atrocities of World War II would never come to fruition again. Identifying common definitions of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, a foundation had been set. The United Nations, the product of this cross-border understanding, has done much towards upholding this call but often is stunted by the powerful veto allowed to the Permanent Five members of the U.N. Security Council.
Seeing the need for an independent body to further deter serious crimes and end criminal impunity, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was born. On July 1, 2002 the Rome Statute was ratified by 60 countries, now joined by 61 others (121 total), of whom have identified the significance of such a court.
In the 10 year anniversary of the Court's proceedings, it is imperative to highlight its accomplishments and to work in further supporting its efforts. We need to reassert the global call from 1945 to uphold international peace and security, together.
The Rio+20 summit, intended to develop a global sustainable development agenda, concluded last week. In the words of author Gwynne Dyer, "rarely has such a large elephant laboured so long to give birth to such a small mouse." 150 world leaders were unwilling and incapable of creating substantive reforms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because of a lack of political will and competing economic interests. The United Nations, the G-8, G-20, and other major multinational conferences suffer from many of the same ills. This begs the question, what is the alternative?
Nonetheless, the past few months were busy for the world's major international institutions. The International Criminal Court, which is about to celebrate its tenth anniversary, convicted Thomas Lubanga in March marking a major milestone for the international justice community. However, others have not been so successful. The United Nations is struggling to resolve the fifteen-month long crisis in Syria that has killed more than 10,000 people. The most recent G-20 summit also recently concluded in Mexico producing piecemeal economic recovery efforts and meaningless statements about violence in Syria.
Today, Fatou Bensouda was sworn in as the new Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), replacing the Court's first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Bensouda is the first woman and African to hold this position.
Bensouda, who is from Gambia, previously served as ICC Deputy Prosecutor, working closely with Ocampo, so it seems the first Prosecutor-to-Prosecutor transfer of power in the Court's history should go smoothly. Her experience is impressive, and additionally, the fact that she is an African woman will likely help to blunt the perception on the part of some critics that the ICC is targeting Africa unfairly in its investigations.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hear Prosecutor Bensouda speak at an event at the Assembly of States Parties meeting last December. She made compelling reference to the need for the Court to focus its attention on gender-based violence and bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice. I was impressed by Bensouda, and I look forward to seeing what her next steps as Prosecutor will be as the Court nears its milestone 10th anniversary in July.
Congratulations, Prosecutor Bensouda! And thank you to former Prosecutor Ocampo for all of your efforts to establish the Court's role in bringing about international justice.
Four staffers of the International Criminal Court (ICC) were detained in Libya over the weekend after meeting with Saif Gaddafi, son of the deposed dictator, who has been indicted by the Court. An ICC team is currently working to secure their release.
ICC President Song has called for the release of the staffers, noting that "These four international civil servants have immunity when on an official ICC mission."
Australian ICC lawyer Melinda Taylor was found carrying documents for Gaddafi that were considered "suspicious" by the Libyan authorities. She and her fellow ICC staff were put under house arrest in the town of Zintan and have been ordered to be held in detention for 45 days.
This latest drama comes as the ICC and Libya remain engaged in a broader tug-of-war over where the younger Gaddafi should be tried. The Libya situation was referred to the ICC last spring by the U.N. Security Council, and the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi. The new Libyan government has expressed a strong desire to try Gaddafi in the country, but it is unclear that they have a sufficient judicial system set up to ensure a fair trial.
We will keep you updated as more news becomes available.
If you're like me, there's nothing quite as much fun as making a list. And listing "winners and losers" on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis is something of a D.C. tradition. So I'm going to start a regular blog series on "Heroes and Zeros" around the globe-commending those leaders, governments, or ordinary people who did something great that positively impacts the global issues that Globalsolutions.org cares about, and calling out those whose actions have hurt the cause of creating a better world.
Here's the first edition-and feel free to let me know what you think and provide feedback!
Hero of the Week: The Nation of Malawi
As someone who follows the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) closely, I feel that all too often I'm writing about how some new nation has flouted ICC arrest warrants by inviting a convicted war criminal for a visit. But happily, this week indicates the tide may be starting to turn on this loathsome practice, as illustrated by Malawi's refusal to host Sudanese president--and ICC indictee--Omar al-Bashir. Malawi was scheduled to hold an African Union summit, but got into a dispute with the AU because it refused to allow Bashir to attend. Despite protests from the AU, Malawi held firm to its no-Bashir stance, and the summit was moved to another country.
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