The I v P conflict has once again shown the need for nation States to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Why? See the Malaysian Bar’s press release here.

Strange that the Malaysian Government does not seem to support the Court when we go around speaking up for and assisting victims of the conflict. There shouldn’t be much of a problem for our leaders here since we are touted as a model “peace-loving” country.

Much advocacy by the Human Rights Committee of the Bar has been done, and the Bar leads the Malaysian Chapter (MyCICC) of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), a network of civil society organisations in 150 countries. (For a good write-up on the issues, see here.)

The CICC has just launched its site at the same time the Court begins its first trial against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo who stands accused of recruiting, enlisting and actively conscripting child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Follow the site, and start to understand how the Court works while hoping the atrocities about to be uncovered will never happen again. Second, do what you can in your own way to pressure our Government to be a party to the Rome Statute.

One reply on “Support the ICC!”

  1. The International Bar Association has issued a press release here:

    IBA hails start of ICC’s first trial as landmark development in international law

    The International Bar Association (IBA) today hailed the start of the first ever trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a landmark event in the development of international law. The trial of Mr Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congolese national charged with the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of fifteen and using them to participate in hostilities, finally commenced today at the world’s permanent international criminal court in The Hague, after numerous delays which lead to a stay of proceedings in June 2008. Today’s trial date was the third attempt by the ICC judges to try Mr Lubanga who has been in ICC custody since March 2006.

    Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director, commented: ‘The 26th of January 2009 will stand as an historic day for international law. The start of the first ICC trial marks a major step towards realising the vision of a group of nations that, more than ten years ago, signed the Rome Statute establishing the world’s first permanent international court. It signalled to the international community that impunity for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity will not be tolerated and that victims will see justice done according to the highest standards of international law’.

    The Lubanga trial will also mark another ‘first’ in international criminal proceedings. Ninety-three victims have thus far been granted the right to participate in the case, the first time at an international level that victims will be allowed an independent voice in the courtroom. The IBA welcomes the approach adopted by the trial judges in implementing a system which allows victims’ legal representatives to participate without unduly delaying the trial. Given the length of Mr Lubanga's pre-trial detention the IBA considers it important for the trial to be conducted expeditiously and with full respect for the rights of the defendant.

    The Lubanga trial is also expected to bring increased public attention to the phenomenon of child soldiers, a pervasive feature of conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other parts of the world. While noting the progress made by the ICC Registry in carrying out outreach programmes in the DRC leading up to the trial, the IBA continues to urge the ICC to ensure that the information about the trial is properly disseminated to the affected communities as well as to the general public. Justice Richard Goldstone, Co-Chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute and former Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said: ‘Starting today outreach to affected communities and public information to the wider public have taken on new urgency if the ICC is to ensure that justice is not only done but also seen to be done. The potential impact of this moment in the continuing fight against impunity is enormous and the Court must not lose this opportunity to make its work known and understood by the public.’

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