Arab states hold meeting on ICC [Archives:2005/868/Front Page]

August 15 2005

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
SANA'A – Under the auspices of Human Rights Minister, Ms Amatalalim al-Soswa, functions of the Arab Regional Consultative Meeting on the International Criminal Court (ICC) started on Saturday August 13 in the Yemeni capital city of Sana'a.

The two-day meeting was organized by the Arab Sisters Forum for Human Rights (ASFHR) in cooperation with the International Criminal Court's Coalition (ICCC) and the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR). The event was attended by representatives from 12 Arab countries, the ICCC and the IFHR.

The meeting aimed to make a coordination for endorsing Rome's Basic System for the International Criminal Court, exchanging information and thoughts on the stand of the Middle East and North African countries and studying the challenges that hinder endorsement and implementation of the system. It also aimed to increase the number of countries endorsing the system through a better comprehension the ICC's role in ensuring protection of human rights.

The countries that endorsed the system number up to 100, including Jordan and Djibouti

The ASFHR based in Yemen was selected, along with other international centers, as a regional center for the ICHR in the Middle East and North Africa. The coalition includes 2000 world organizations scattered in 150 countries. Ms. Amal al-Basha is the Regional Coordinator for the ICCC.

The ICC started its work on July 1st 2002, by looking into war and anti-humanity crimes and genocides. Currently the court is discussing crimes committed in Congo, Uganda and Darfur.

The different activities of the meeting gave fuller information about the ICC, its scheme and the ICHR, which was established for supporting it. The meeting reviewed laws operating in several states, how they contradict the Rome's System and diagnosed the difficulties and barriers hindering the Arab countries from endorsing the system.

A series of important speeches were delivered during the meeting by specialists including Ms. Amatalalim al-Soswa, Yemeni Human Rights Minister who confirmed that her country officially welcomes the establishment of the ICC.

According to al-Soswa, the establishment of the court is a historic leap toward supporting justice and emphasizing the human dignity. She stressed that having faith in democracy can not be manifested in the process of direct elections and secret polls, rather, it is an actual conduct and real practice of human rights, as well as a protection of life and dignity of man from any violation.

Ms. Amal al-Basha Head of the Arab Sisters Forum and Regional Coordinator of the ICCC emphasized that the meeting aims to facilitate interaction with the court and make the world a safer place for ensuring status of the law and establishing the principles of justice.

Joint work, Ms. Al-Basha added, will help people move from a pre-law state period to another period prevailed by justice and equal human rights. Thus the Middle East, North African and Gulf countries will be convenient places for peaceful living.

She ascertained that states in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf are in persistent need to endorse Rome's System for the International Criminal Court, particularly as these countries are inclusively undemocratic.

Ms. Al-Basha urged the Arab regimes to offer all the guarantees to protect their nations.

On his part, Mr. Mohamed al-Tayyib, Chairman of the Rights, Freedoms and Civil Community Committee at al-Shura Council confirmed the ICC is one of the important achievements attained so far since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945.

Refraining from endorsing the Rome's System will never yield positive results; it may deprive the Arab countries of several advantages, most important of which is suggesting a solution for the absence of the Arab reward and effectiveness in different judicial institutions.