Monday, July 26, 2010

AMICC's 'ICC Memo"

The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) has recently launched a new publication entitled "The Interdependent" which features a monthly contribution from AMICC named the "ICC Memo." Visit the publication's homepage at, or click here to read AMICC's first "ICC Memo," which discusses the recent arrest warrant for genocide issued against Sudan's Omar al-Bashir.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chad Refuses to Arrest Sudanese President Al-Bashir

The Sudanese President al-Bashir sparked controversy when he flew to N'Djamena, Chad this week to attend a meeting of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States.

President al-Bashir is currently sought by the ICC for alleged counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed in the Darfur region of Sudan. The visit to Chad marks the first occasion on which a person subject to an ICC arrest warrant has been invited onto the territory of an ICC State Party.

The US State Department has recognized that the growing relations between Chad and Sudan enhance regional peace, but reminded Chad “that it has responsibilities as a signatory under the Rome Statute and needs to continue to fulfill its obligations to the ICC.”

The ICC has stated that, under the terms of the Rome Statute, Chad has an international obligation to execute arrest warrants issued by the ICC. Photo Credit: Stratfor

Office of the Prosecutor Appeals against Release in the Lubanga Trial

Earlier this week, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) submitted an urgent appeal seeking to overturn a Trial Chamber’s order to release the ICC defendant Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.

The release order came upon the heels of a refusal by the OTP to follow a court order demanding the release of the name of an OTP employee in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the defense.

The OTP resisted release of the information because it believed that it would result in an unacceptable level of risk to the life and safety of the OTP employee. However, the judges rejected this argument and stayed further proceedings in the trial because of the failure of the OTP to follow its orders.

The OTP is concurrently appealing against this stay of proceedings by the Trial Chamber.

Lubanga is accused of three counts of war crimes surrounding the alleged use of child soldiers within his former militia in the Ituri region of Eastern Congo. He is the first person to be tried before the ICC. Photo Credit: Taratur

Update 23-7-10 at 11:08: The Appeals Chamber has issued a decision suspending the Trial Chamber's release order until the Appeals Chamber can rule on the OTP's appeal against the stay of proceedings. The effect is that Lubanga will remain in custody during this process.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

International Justice Day at the New York City Bar

Thanks for all who came out to the International Justice Day Celebration at the Bar Association of the City of New York. We had a packed house and enjoyed a great program. Many thanks to Patricia O'Brien, Christian Wenaweser and David Tolbert for their remarks. Extra thanks to special musical guest Bethany and Rufus, and organizer David Stoelting. The event was co-sponsored by AMICC, the Committee on International Criminal Law, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and the ABA Section on International Law. IJ Central was there to cover the event- check out their great VIDEO of commentary by young professionals about the ICC.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ICC suspensions are not a political tool

On July 13 Dave Eggers and John Prendergast published an article in the New York Times entitled "In Sudan, War is Around the Corner" where they suggested that the US could use a Security Council suspension (as per article 16 of the Rome Statute) of the ICC's indictment of Bashir as a political tool to encourage a peace agreement in Sudan. In response to this suggestion the New York Times published a letter by Rafael Medoff entitled "The War in Sudan". It refutes the use of suspensions as a political tool by stating:

"The way to stop genocide — and deter future war criminals — is to capture and prosecute the perpetrators, not give them rewards for signing peace treaties. The United States has shown on more than one occasion that it is capable of apprehending fugitive terrorists and tyrants around the world, from intercepting the Egyptian plane carrying the hijackers of the Achille Lauro (1985) to pursuing and arresting Manuel Noriega in Panama (1990).

President Bashir’s periodic visits to countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia create opportunities for the United States and its allies to bring him to justice. "

To read the original Op-Ed please click here. To read Medoff's response please click here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

[EVENT] New York Rallies for International Justice, Saturday July 17th

This Saturday, New York will be the site of a public celebration in honor of International Justice Day. We will hear from expert speakers, remember the victims of past atrocity crimes and mark the momentous achievement of the establishment of the world's first permanent, independent criminal court. Join us!

Union Square, South Plaza
(14th St. and Broadway)

Sponsors include:
Amnesty International USA
American NGO Coalition for the ICC
Council of American Students in Internaitonal Negotiations
Darfur People's Association of New York
Student World Assembly
United Nations Association USA

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Take Action for the ICC on International Justice Day

Click HERE to send a letter to President Obama.

July 17 is International Justice Day. It celebrates the International Criminal Court (ICC) and all efforts to end impunity for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is also time to celebrate our achievements.

Last year on July 17 and since then we asked you to write to President Obama urging his administration to participate in ICC meetings, including the recent Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda. You sent over 4,800 advocacy messages on the ICC to the administration and Congress. They heard you. After eight years of absence, the U.S. is now an active participant in the Court.

Successful U.S. engagement with the ICC is a major achievement, but it is not enough. The Obama administration has made a good start in renewing the U.S. commitment to the ICC. It has pledged its cooperation with the Court. But the U.S. needs a comprehensive ICC policy which administration officials now say is "too hard" to reach. This will leave the U.S. without a foundation for its work with the Court and unprepared to deal with unforeseen situations and emergencies. The Obama administration early on committed to completing an interagency policy toward the ICC.

Tell President Obama that this International Justice Day is the time to finish what he started: complete an integrated U.S. policy toward the ICC. Click here to take action!

Monday, July 12, 2010

ICC issues arrest warrant against Bashir for genocide

Today Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court issued a second warrant of arrest for Omar Al-Bashir, President of Sudan, this time on charges of genocide. When the Prosecutor originally applied to Pre-Trial Chamber I with respect to the crime of genocide against Bashir early in 2009 he was denied; however, after filing an appeal against the decision it was unanimously reversed on February 3, 2010. Today, on July 12, 2010 Pre-Trial Chamber I concluded that "there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Al Bashir acted with specific intent to destroy in part the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups."

This warrant of arrest for three counts of genocide does not replace the first arrest warrant for Bashir, which includes charges of five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes. The two warrants will simultaneously remain in force, jointly containing a total of ten changes against the Sudanese President who remains at large.

This is the first time that the ICC has issued a warrant for arrest that includes counts of genocide. Since its issuance the Sudan government has openly refused to cooperate with the Court to facilitate Bashir's arrest. Photo credit: AFP.