The International Criminal Court

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT a short overview by Julien Randriamasivelo


In 1997, the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization joined the Global Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC) for many reasons:

This showed to what extent the need to take appropriate measures to face up to the phenomenal increase of crimes at the level of human life has become urgent. AAPSO's commitment to this process

implies an unswerving recognition of the role that it has to play as indispensable partner. AAPSO's activities in this field can shed light on the intricate research and investigation which must be carried out on many subjects.

Indeed, it is difficult, even impossible in many cases, at the sole governmental level to successfully carry out and bring into full completion any investigations over war crimes, organized crimes, common law crimes, genocides and other criminal acts perpetrated against populations or groups of persons, without the support and the contribution of the NGOs.

According to its mandate, the ICC will try individuals- regardless of rank and power- accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In its stand for this support to ICC, AAPSO has stressed that an effective, just and equitable international Court (that is ICC) was required. This will only be possible if that Court adopts a firm stand vis-ˆ-vis any factors that might lead to deviate from its mandate. It requires a strict implementation of basic principles on which this mandate is based and relevant to its function and the quality of the members of this judiciary boly. AAPSO's stand on principle may be summarized as follows:

a)-total independance vis-ˆ-vis the governments, states, organisations, groups or individuals who might be tempted to influence the Court anyway.

b)-impartiality in the rulings pronouncements and decisions, avoiding any double standards policy;

c)-clear objectivity in the investigations, analyses and elaboration of results. The NGOs' contribution to this process is of crucal importance.

d)-effective cooperation with all potential actors who might be seriously interested in implementing its decisons and rulings.

While supporting the ICC, AAPSO calls for the eradication of massives violations of human rights in the world as well as the impunity which is unfortunately the rule rather than the exception in several countries.

The concerns of the international community which had adhered to the ICC are related to what extent the ICC will be strong enough to resist any pressure from great powers who might be tempted to use it at the service of the globalization. In this respect, the case of the United States is a striking one.

They strongly opposed the ICC. They even have signed ICC immunity deals (some in condition of secrecy) with a number of countries (38) giving US citizens in those nations an absolute and unlimited exemption and immunity from possible prosecution by the ICC, some of these countries are signatories of the ICC jurisdiction. Washington argued that the ICC could become a forum for politically motivated prosecutions of US citizens including civilian military contractors and former officials. In its efforts to secure as many impunity agreements as possible, the US has used methods of more-or-less open coertion.
For example, Washington openly threatened African countries that it would cut military aid if such agreement was not signed. The US government has threatened to remove tariff preferences recently granted to some African countries pursuant to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). It is clear that signing such agreement would violate obligations of countries as States Party under the Rome Statute. These agreements could have a more devastating effect as they could create a system of discriminatory justice. Moreover, none of the military and strategic allies of the US have agreed to sign a bilateral agreement.

To date, 92 countries representing all regions of the world have accepted the ICC jurisdiction.

The ICC has organized a number of meetings related to its role and activities:

- in Sanaa, Yemen, " Intergovernmental Regional Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and the Role of the ICC;

- in Amman, Jordan, workshop on "International Criminal Court";

- in Cairo, Egypt, International Conference on "International Criminal Law and the Arab World";

-in Bangkok,Thailand,"Ensuring Responsibility for International Crime within the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction: The Challenge for the ASEAN Criminal Justice Cooperation";

- in Beijing, China, Symposium on the Comparative Study of the International Criminal Law and the Rome Statute;

- in Mumbay, India, workshop on "ICC and Women's Rights"

- in Tokyo, Japan, Study Session on the ICC".

At the World Social Forum in Bombay, India, a panel was organized by the International Federation for Human Rights to raise the profile of the pro-ICC movement.

A lot of events related to ICC are scheduled to take place during this year 2004.

Attached are: - a glance at the Rome Statute of the ICC.

- Sana'a Declaration on Democracy, Human Rights and the Role of the ICC. Regional Conference held on 10-12 January 2004.