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UN Public Meeting Hears Support for ICC


UN Public Meeting Hears Support for ICC

Public Meeting of UN Security Council Hears Ground Swell of Support for the International Criminal Court Three Security Council Members Abstain From Vote on ICC Exemption Resolution

(New York) - In a public meeting of the Security Council today, statements were made on behalf of 70 members and non-members of the Council supporting the International Criminal Court (ICC) and opposing the automatic renewal of Security Council Resolution 1422. Adopted last year, the resolution requested that, for a twelve month renewable period, the ICC not proceed investigations or prosecutions of personnel in any UN peacekeeping or authorized missions who are nationals of non-States Parties to the ICC.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also expressed his opposition to the resolution at the meeting, stating, "I believe that the article was not intended to cover such a sweeping request do not believe this request is necessary." Immediately following the public meeting, the Security Council renewed the resolution, now Resolution 1487, by vote of 12 - 0, with France, Germany and Syria abstaining. This is a significant shift since the resolution was adopted unanimously last year.

"It is a significant achievement for states to have circumvented the intense pressure for a quiet and automatic renewal of this resolution," said William Pace, convenor of the more than 2,000-member NGO Coalition for the ICC. "Today's open meeting reflects the international community's unwillingness to accept in perpetuity a misguided resolution that creates a two-tiered system of justice," he said.

The NGO Coalition for the ICC unequivocally opposes Resolution 1422, which it finds to be in clear violation of the Rome Statute and a misuse of the UN Charter. Numerous international law experts contend that Article 16 of the Rome Statute, on which the Resolution 1422 is purportedly based, should be used only in exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis, and is not intended to subject ICC investigations and prosecutions to prior Security Council authorization. Experts also find the resolution breaches the Security Council's Chapter VII authority, which mandates that the Council act only when there is a threat to or breach of the peace, or an act of aggression, which the resolution ostensibly infers the ICC would pose.

By exempting a wide range of persons from the ICC jurisdiction, the resolution effectively opens the door for impunity. "The Security Council does not have the authority to rewrite an international treaty, and that's what this resolution does," said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch.

According to Coalition member organizations, it will be up to the ICC to ultimately decide on the legal and practical effect of Resolution 1422.

The ICC will see its first chief prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, sworn in during a special ceremony in The Hague on Monday, June 16, and is also expected to elect its registrar next week. With all of its top officials in place, the Court is poised to become an independent and impartial tool in the fight against impunity for the most heinous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. There are currently 90 States Parties to the ICC.

NB: Further information on Security Council Resolution 1422 can be found online at: http://www.iccnow.org/documents/otherissues1422.html

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