Global Coalition supports Yemeni Campaign for the ICC : Sana’a Conference Discusses the International Criminal Court

An international coalition of more than 2000 NGOS have joined the nascent Yemeni Coalition for the ICC to promote Yemen’s support of this new global Court.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) together with the NGO Coalition for the ICC (New York) and the Sister’s Arab Forum for Human Rights, a Yemeni NGO, is organizing a two-days meeting in Sana’a on 7 and 8 January 2004 to discuss Yemen’s ratification of the ICC treaty.

The two-day roundtable will gather representatives from Yemeni civil society as well as members of parliament and media, with the objective of strengthening the Yemeni Coalition for the ICC and advance campaign for Yemen’s ratification of the ICC Statute. In an open-forum setting, Yemeni participants will discuss background information and receive training with regards to the jurisdiction of the ICC, strengthen local knowledge about the Court and share the documents and campaign tools. The roundtable will also provide an opportunity for Yemeni civil society voices in the Yemen’s ICC ratification and implementation process.

The ICC, an independent treaty based body, is the first permanent court capable of trying individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is the first international Court with the power to hold individuals accountable regardless of rank or power. It is also the first such court with the ability to initiate investigations from non-state actors without a referral by the United Nations or an ICC member State. Located in The Hague, The Netherlands, the ICC began its jurisdiction on July 1, 2002, and has recently elected its eighteen judges, prosecutor and deputy prosecutor.

In the Middle East, the ICC enjoys strong support from Jordan, the only Arab country being a member State and whose Ambassador to the United Nations currently serves as the President of the ICC’s 92 member Assembly of States Parties. The Middle East is also represented by Her Majesty Queen Rania al-Abdallah of Jordan, recently elected to the ICC’s seven-member board of directors for the Victims’ Trust Fund. Twelve countries in the region, including Yemen, have signed but not ratified the treaty.

By ratifying the Rome statute, Yemen would find itself among countries with encouraging human rights records, which support accountability at the global level, and the rule of law. Yemen’s recent commitments to strengthening human rights have been an important step: from the creation of a ministry for human rights currently led by a woman, to supporting a culture of participatory democracy among civil society. Undoubtedly, the Yemeni Coalition has a crucial role to play in raising awareness and understanding of the ICC in Yemen, and in partnership with the government, in drafting ratification and implementation legislation.

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