Parliament approves Yemen’s joining Rome Statute [Archives:2007/1036/Local News]

March 26 2007

SANA'A, March 25 ) Parliament ratified Saturday joining the international agreement of Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court after a lengthy discussion for the report submitted by legal and constitutional committee. With this ratification, the number of States Parties has now reached 105 and Yemen becomes only the fourth Arab State to join the ICC.

According to this treaty, the court is considered an international and independent judicial apparatus dealing with genocide crimes, actions made for exterminating a group, race, or religious sect by killing, physical or mental harm to them, together with measures that aim to prevent their procreation. It also includes crimes against humanity and those crimes committed on a large-scale basis against civilians such as killings, genocide, forced displacement, torture, rape and racial discrimination.

Moreover, the court rules on war crimes and gross violations of Geneva conventions of 1949 such as destroying property, attacking civilians and using toxic arms. Other actions include as well violations of war norms like killing or injuring war captives. The court also looks into cases of local armed clashes.

Yemeni Human Rights Information and Training Center hailed this move, considering it to be a long-awaited move. Also the national human rights organsiation No Peace Without Justice has been please that its work to encourage the Government of Yemen to ratify the treaty has been successful. The ICC was of the main pillars of the Sana'a Intergovernmental Regional Conference on Human Rights, Democracy and the Role of the International Criminal Court jointly organised by the Government of Yemen and NPWJ in January 2004.

Thanks to the engagement of the Yemeni Government and the insistent pressure and unrelenting work of Yemeni human rights activists, notably the Sisters' Arab Forum, the commitments taken three years ago in Sana'a have now been honoured.

Sergio Stanzani and Gianfranco Dell'Alba, President and Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice offered his congratulations to Yemen on the occasion.

“No Peace Without Justice offers its warmest congratulations to the Republic of Yemen for this historic step, which we have been looking forward to for a long time, and which has involved sustained commitment from all levels of Yemeni society, from civil society through parliamentarians to government officials. With this morning's news, Yemen has demonstrated its commitment to justice as a pre-condition for sustainable peace and has also signalled its willingness to continue to take a leading role in the region on issues of accountability and the rule of law.

We very much hope that other countries in the region will follow Yemen's example and ratify the Rome Statute with all possible speed, which would ensure more active participation from the region both in the Assembly of States Parties and in the work of the ICC itself.” He said.