Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #37

This past week the media has touched upon many currently ongoing investigations or cases in the International Criminal Court. Last week reportedly British and French diplomats indicated that if Gaddafi stepped down from power, he would be able to safely and peacefully remain in Libya. However, this week a spokesperson for the ICC reiterated that if Gaddafi were to step down the new ruling party would be obligated to arrest him. In the ongoing Bemba case, where the former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is on trial for 48 counts of war crimes, this week the former VP was named by the DRC's opposition party as their pick to run for president in November. In the Kenya case, reportedly all six suspects have been interviewed by the Kenyan authorities in an attempt to convince the ICC judges that domestic proceedings in Kenya are credible and underway. The judges have yet to weigh in on whether these measures alter their prior ruling granting the ICC jurisdiction over the cases. In the Sudan cases, United Nations reports have surfaced detailing extreme violence perpetrated by the government against the Nuba people since the independence of South Sudan. These reports have renewed calls for international action to arrest President Bashir. The nomination period for the new ICC prosecutor, which began in June, was announced this week by President of the Assembly of States Parties Christian Wenaweser to end on September 9, 2011. In a statement released by the ICC, Wenaweser said he was encouraged by cooperation from a variety on international sources including states, civil society and academia. In other news, the ICC continues its campaign to recruit African female lawyers, a population that is underrepresented in the Court. Although the campaign has gone on for several years, it has reportedly only yielded 2 African women lawyers. Photo credit: AFP.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video: John Washburn on the ICC and International Justice Day

John Washburn amicc from Skylight Pictures on Vimeo.

On July 15th, Hannah Dunphy sat down with AMICC convener John Washburn at the United Nations to hear his reflections on the Court and the movement for the ICC. Check it out on IJCentral here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What Does the ICC Cost? Court Requests $170 million for 2012

In a budget document released last week, the ICC requested 117,730,000 Euros for its 2012 budget, about $170,000,000. This is an increase of almost 14% from the 2011 budget. It's unclear, however, whether the Court's governing body, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), will approve the request at its session in December or how it will fare under the scrutiny of the ASP's Committee on Budget and Finance.

Among the specific budget items for 2012:

Judiciary: $14.83 million (8.7%)
Office of the Prosecutor (OTP): $45.73 million (27%)
Registry: $100.55 million (59.4%)
Secretariat of the Trust Fund for Victims: $2.53 million (1.5%)
Permanent Premises Project Director’s Office: $0.79 million (0.5%)
Independent Oversight Mechanism: €0.46 million (0.3%)

Of the funds requested for the OTP, it has asked for an additional $7.7 million for its Libya investigation which was referred to the Court by the UN Security Council in February.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Responses to Arguments about the Effects of the ICC's Libya Investigation

Given the recent ICC investigation in Libya and the recent decision to issue arrest warrants for Muammar Gaddafi and other senior leadership of Libya, here are some responses to persistent claims about the Court's involvement:

1. The arrest warrants on Gaddafi will prevent him from leaving the country, therefore unnecessarily prolonging the violence.

Response: The international community decided in a Security Council resolution that Gaddafi should be prosecuted. When it has jurisdiction, the Court believes that it must prosecute if the evidence justifies it. Only the Security Council, not the Court is qualified make the very political choice between peace and justice. That choice must be case by case. With Gaddafi, there is no indication that he would leave if the ICC did not exist. There is no evidence that the IOCC is affecting the decisions of Gaddafi.

2. The Court is impotent; its warrants can’t be enforced; Gaddafi won’t be arrested.

Response: Milosevic and Charles Taylor are examples of heads of states now being or recently tried by international tribunals after governments arrested them. The ICC now has 6 high ranking leaders in detention and at various stages of prosecution, including military leaders and a former vice-president. The Libyan Interim National Council declared that it wants to arrest and deliver Gaddafi. After ICC States Parties are counted, the number of countries willing to harbor Gaddafi is quite small.

3. The arrest warrant charges against Gaddafi and his son are too limited, the prosecutor acted too fast

Response: The first round of arrest warrants charge only the crimes against humanity of murder and persecution. The Prosecutor was obligated to respond as soon as possible to the Security Council request for prosecution. Only the immediately available evidence for these crimes against humanity met his high standard for evidence in support of arrest warrants. In order to save time and the Court’s limited resources of staff and money, the Prosecutor insists on being sure that evidence used for arrest warrant be fully suitable to be used in the other proceedings all the way through trial. As evidence of other ICC crimes by Gaddafi is compiled and verified, the prosecutor will ask the judges to add more charges to the warrants.

Photo: ICC-CPI

Talking Point Memo Explains Why the ICC Won't Charge Obama

Following an article in the Daily Telegraph (UK) about a Spanish lawyer suggesting that President Obama should be charged by the ICC for crimes against humanity, Talking Points Memo thoughtfully addresses why this will not occur.

ICC in the Media, Update #36

This past week International Criminal Court supporters worldwide celebrated International Justice Day on July 17. Several media outlets took the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the ICC and the amazing progress international criminal justice has made in recent decades. Amidst this celebration, members of the international community took the opportunity to encourage state cooperation with the Court. On Tuesday during a visit in Nairobi with the Prime Minister and President of Kenya, the German Chancellor urged the Kenyan government to cooperate with the ICC in its proceedings of the "Kenya six". Reportedly the Kenyan leaders reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate with the tribunal. On Monday officials from the European Union encouraged increased cooperation from Libya and the international community in carrying out the arrest warrants in the Libya case. However, not all coverage was positive this week. Reportedly 470 victims have been prevented from taking part in the confirmation hearing of ICC indictee Callixte Mbarushimana due to a lack of staff in the ICC's Registry resulting from budget constraints. NGOs are calling for states to increase their financial commitments to the institution to support crucial activities, such as victim participation in trials. The Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo trial is now on recess, and will resume next month, at which time the ICC Prosecutor will present his last witnesses and close his case. In the Kenya case, reportedly Ocampo will not present live witnesses at the suspects' confirmation hearing as planned, and instead will rely solely on documented evidence. This news follows Ocampo's resistance last month to provide the defense with his evidence, out of fear that it would expose victims to risk. Photo credit: Capital FM.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 17th Celebrations: Rundown of Events and Updates

No matter where in the world you are, you can show your support for the efforts of our coalition by signing a petition to President Obama, asking him to enforce the recent arrest warrants issued by the ICC for leaders in Libya, including Col. Gaddafi.

Tomorrow, we invite our members and followers to join the international Coalition for the ICC (CICC) for a live blogging Q&A with Convener William Pace. To follow the live discussion or read transcript of the chat, or submit questions:, or on Twitter @_CICC

Social media is lighting up in preparation: Tweet you thoughts at us @USfortheICC, and add the hashtag #17July to join the conversation about this important holiday. Our colleagues at the ICC invite you to join their Facebook page created for International Criminal Justice Day. Check it out and learn about events around the world happening to mark this occasion.

July 15th, AMICC will be attending a special event entitled The ICC and the Protection of Civilians at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, with a keynote address by Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, followed by a discussion with the scheduled panelists Mr. William R. Pace, Convenor of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court & Co-Founder of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, H.E. Mr. Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and President of the Assembly of States Parties, Ms. Charlotte Bunch, Gender Equality Architecture Reform Campaign and Founding Director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Mr. Donald Deya, Chief Executive Officer of the Pan African Lawyers Union and Mrs. Barbara Plett, BBC United Nations Correspondent.

(Photo of the ICC's July 17th flag, courtesy of CICC)

On July 17th, AMICC's Outreach Coordinator Hannah Dunphy will be the featured speaker at the annual state meeting of Amnesty International ME, and will lead a discussion on the US and the ICC as it relates to evolving international justice. Also, Convener John Washburn will be featured in a video interview with our friends at IJCentral, providing a short commentary on July 17th and its importance. Stay tuned for the video!

If you would like to contribute to the work of AMICC, know that your donations are essential to continue our work. Donate to AMICC here.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #34

This week the media has primarily focused on the newly issued ICC warrants against Gaddafi, his son and Libya's Chief of Police. Reportedly Gaddafi announced that he will refuse to recognize the warrants. ICC Prosecutor Ocampo has urged Gaddafi's inner circle to turn him in or risk prosecution themselves, but so far none appear to have complied. On Friday members of the African Union met for the 17th AU Summit where they criticized the ICC's arrest warrants in Libya, arguing that the ICC unfairly targets African nations. The ICC Deputy Prosecutor rejected such arguments in a statement last week, emphasizing that the victims are also African and that in most cases the African nations referred themselves to the international tribunal. In other news, Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese President wanted by the ICC on numerous charges, visited China last week as previously planned. The trip was reportedly delayed because he rerouted his airplane to avoid entering Tajikistan and Turkmenistan's airspace after they refused to grant him passage. Reportedly he also avoided flying through Afghanistan out of fear of NATO escorting him to the ICC. Although China is not a member state, the visit drew international criticism including "disappointment" from the United States and United Nations. Onlookers reiterated the commitment nations must make to take initiative in enforcing international justice if progress is to be made. In the Kenya case, ICC judges determined last week that the suspects' hearings will be held at the Hague, not in Kenya as previously suggested. Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova stressed the wishes of witnesses and victims in making this decision. She further dismissed the idea of allowing solely domestic tribunals due to insufficient evidence that such tribunals would ever become a reality, let alone be adequately independent. In the ongoing Bemba case witness testimony continues. Last week a witness for the prosecution conceded under cross-examination that he was unsure the defendant was responsible for he pillaging he witnessed. Photo credit: The Telegraph.