Tuesday, March 23, 2010

[Breaking News] U.S. to ICC's Assembly: "We support the International Criminal Court"

Avove: Rapp in The Hague, November 2009 (PHOTO by CICC)
March 23, 2010
NEW YORK, New York- At a meeting today of the International Criminal Court, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Stephen Rapp announced that the Obama administration supported the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Addressing the resumed 8th session Assembly of States Parties (ASP) at the United Nations, Rapp told international delegations and NGO observers that the U.S. recognized the importance of the ICC's role in the system of international justice. "The Obama administration would like to meet with the prosecutors of the ICC," he said, pledging U.S. support for the ICC's ongoing investigations in Uganda, Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "The U.S. wants to identify specific ways to support the work of the Court."

The Ambassador also underscored the importance of the work of ad-hoc tribunals, and expressed the U.S. desire to share its "lessons learned" with the ICC. Recognizing the ICC's ongoing challenge of executing arrest warrants, Rapp said the U.S. specifically wanted to help to "enhance effective cooperation with non-state parties."

Ambassador Rapp was part of a large, inter-agency delegation to the ASP, including members of the Department of State and the Department of Defense. Harold Koh, Legal Adviser to the Department of State is expected to make a statement this afternoon regarding the ICC's jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. Though the U.S. is not party to the ICC's Rome Statute, it can participate as an observer at meetings of the ASP.

The statement from the U.S delegation was welcomed by many NGO participants as another positive indication of the Obama administration's developing relationship with the ICC. The administration has not yet completed its policy on the ICC, but has been urged to do so by U.S. civil society.

The 8th ASP is addressing key issues of concern to the ICC in preparation for the Court's first Review Conference, to be held in Kampala, Uganda in May/June 2010. The U.S has indicated it will attend the Review Conference. Non-governmental organizations at the national and local level have advocated that the U.S. policy on the Court be completed prior to the Review Conference as a way to ensure effective and constructive participation in Kampala.

In November 2009, the U.S. participated in the 8th Assembly of States Parties (ASP) in The Hague, saying it was there to listen and learn. It was the first time in seven years the U.S. had participated in a meeting of the ICC.

by Hannah Dunphy, American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

[Event] New York, NY: "The Reckoning" at the Center for Global Affairs

March 23: 6:30 pm

Screening of The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court followed by a question and answer session with Reckoning Editor Peter Kinoy and Professor Jennifer Trahan of NYU’s Center for Global Affairs.
Woolworth Building, Room 430 (15 Barclay St.).
Click here for more information. RSVP to gags.nyu@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

[Event] New York City: meeting TONIGHT of Amnesty USA's ICC Action Team

NYC International Criminal Court Action Team-
launch meeting TONIGHT!

AMICC's John Washburn, Matthew Heaphy and Hannah Dunphy will be participants in tonight's meeting for the exciting formation of the NYC Action Team for the ICC.

Members of the public are welcome.

March 9th, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Amnesty International USA Headquarters
5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY
[very close to the 34th Street-Penn Station stop on the A,C, E trains]

Note: Security in the building is tight. If you plan on attending, please e-mail Thenjiwe at tmcharris@aiusa.org with your full name. More information is here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Interactive Feature on the ICC's most wanted

Just in from our colleagues at Citizens for Global Solutions:

Roll over Snoop Dogg, Ocampo is new king of the matatu

By Scott Baldauf @ CS Monitor, via IJ central
Photo by Sarah Elliot

Nairobi, Kenya
It may not be scientific, but a quick way to see what’s trendy in Kenya is to look at the back of a matatu, which is what Kenyans call their minivan taxis. Some are highly adorned with the spray-painted faces of American hip-hop stars such as Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and the late Tupac Shakur, and play those artists’ music at deafening decibels. Some are covered with pious statements such as “In God We Trust” or “Mashallah” (Arabic for “by the grace of God”).

One matatu I saw in Nairobi even had a portrait of Osama bin Laden, chosen presumably more for shock value than for ideological reasons, as the side of the van was emblazoned with the words “Thug Life.”
But the new king of the matatu is neither a rap star nor a terrorist. He is Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

Mr. Ocampo has recently taken up the criminal investigation of top Kenyan politicians who allegedly organized ethnic violence in the wake of the December 2007 elections, violence that killed some 1,500 people and displaced nearly 300,000 from their homes. During the elections, matatu drivers endorsed political candidates, but, in the violent aftermath, many drivers became as disillusioned as the voting public.

Now they are showing their disillusionment with giant posters of the Argentine-born lawyer holding a sheaf of documents. Others simply display the word “OCAMPO” in capital letters.

Be careful, Kenyan politicians: Your people are watching you.

by Scott Baldauf, Christian Science Monitor