Japan this month, Yemen’s turn next:SAF calls for national coalition to ratify ICC Agreement [Archives:2003/679/Local News]

October 23 2003

Sana’a, Oct. 21- Preparations have been underway by the Sisters Arab Forum, SAF to hold and review a public meeting centering around Yemen’s accession to ratify the Agreement of the International Criminal Court, ICC, today, October 23 at the SAF’s headquarters.
Human rights representatives, civil society organizations, media representatives and a host of others have also taken part in that public meeting to ratify the Agreement as well as establishing a Yemeni coalition to explain the court’s objectives and its mechanisms.
The number of the countries which have ratified ICC Agreement have reached 92 countries in the entire world.
The ICC started its mission on July 1 reconsidering only “individuals and not people as groups” to be brought before the ICC when committing crimes such as, crimes against humanity, (including torture crime), genocide, and war crimes.
The ICC is an independent court and separated from the United Nations.
When a country ratifies the ICC agreement and the internal necessary procedures have not been taken to bring the violators of the international law before the court, it is therefore; either the country has showed its disinterest or that it might act in collusion. Or it has implicitly agreed to what have been taken or it is incapable of carrying out a fair trial as a result of internal issues such as, political instability or defect of its internal regime.
Until today, 13 Arab countries including Yemen have signed the agreement.
The second step is to ratify the agreement in order to become a part of the national legislation and a part of the required legal accords. It is a step that reflects the reality of respecting the human rights notions and extent of its credibility.
More sorrow than in anger, Jordan and Djibouti are the only two Arab countries that have ratified the ICC agreement.
Consequently, there should be a significant reconsideration to establish a national and an Arab coalition in order to pressurize Arab countries to ratify the ICC Agreement.
In this context, an international coalition comprising 2000 non-governmental organizations has been established for about eight years where an emphasis is given to urge all countries to ratify the ICC agreement.
Here in Yemen, the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights, SAF and the Human Rights Information and Training Center, HRITC are the only two organizations that have joined the Arab coalition. It has been led by the Judiciary Independence Center in Egypt as well as the New York-based international coalition for the non-governmental organizations in 2002.
Amnesty International is currently leading an international campaign concentrating each month on a country which has not ratified the ICC agreement.
This month, the campaign is directed to Japan in order to enable it ratify the agreement. Yemen is the second destination after Japan of this international campaign in order to urge it to ratify the agreement.
It is to be mentioned here that Israel and the US have refused to ratify the ICC Agreement.
Up to this moment, the US has succeeded in signing bilateral agreements with about 30 countries in order to immunize their soldiers from arrest and coming under the area of the courts’ jurisdiction under the pretext of putting that right into political reasons directed against the US interests.