Most ads are interactive -- click on them to visit the folks who make The Panama News possible

opinion

Also in this section:
Menéndez, Environmental concerns about the canal expansion
What would we be flushing away?

Leis, Strategic visions and canal debates

Gutman, The reverend gets it way out of proportion

Human Rights Watch, Laws that are being violated in the latest Mideast violence

Lerner, End the suffering in the Middle East
Amnesty International, Protect civilians as Israel and Hezbollah fight it out

Silié, National identity in the era of globalization

Moise, US embargo against Cuba under capitalist assault

Sirias, The haunted house I'll never visit

Bernal, The International Criminal Court on its birthday
Hahn, The other side of paradise

The Statute of Rome and international justice

by Miguel Antonio Bernal

Accustomed as our authorities are to living with their backs turned to international reality, it did not occur to any of the branches of government to make the slightest reference to the July 17 anniversary of the adoption of the Statute of Rome that created the International Criminal Court (ICC). The general coordinator of the Coalition Non-Governmental Organizations for the International Criminal Court, William Pace, released an interesting reflection which I share with you to consider as of great value in the present moments through which we live as a part of humanity:

Some years back, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and many of its members began to observe July 17 as World International Justice Day, in honor of the adoption of the Statute of Rome on July 17, 1998. Each year, the CICC uses this opportunity not only to evaluate past developments, but also to have a look toward the future.

 

The International Criminal Court has been described as one of the great advances in international law and justice.To observe the fourth anniversary of the Statute of Rome's going into effect, we recall all of the milestones reached by the ICC, its continued growth and the the demonstration that this institution is turning into a permanent feature for international justice and peace. Of course, the ICC and the governments must overcome the deficiencies and obstacles they confront, but nobody could have predicted the positive developments accomplished in the last six years.

 

Among the major accomplishments of the ICC since July 1, 2002, there are the referrals of the situations in three member states: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and the Central African Republic (CAR); the historic referral of the situation in Darfur by the United Nations Security Council; the continuation of the formal prosecutors' investigations in the DRC, Uganda and Darfur; the announcement by the prosecutor in February 2006 about five situations under study on four continents, including the CAR and the Ivory Coast, cases in which the court may take jurisdiction over crimes committed; and the recognition of the ICC's jurisdiction on the part of the Ivory Coast despite it not being a signatory to the Statute of Rome.

 

Since last year, the new system of international criminal justice achieved 100 ratifications, wit the deposit of the Statute of Rome by Mexico on October 28, 2005. In 1998 the most optimistic experts predicted that it would take from 10 to 20 years to reach 60 ratifications. With more than two-thirds of the nations of the world as signatory states or member states to the ICC treaty, the movement for universal adherence can clearly confirm that support for international justice is global and has been embraced by progressive nations of all regions and legal systems in the world. The 100 ratifications also demonstrate the determination of the states not to yield to the political pressures of some powerful nations that continue to oppose the ICC.

 

Moreover, just in the last year, the court has made important decision about legal questions. These include the reaffirmation of the rights of victims to participate in judicial processes, requests to trace and freeze the assets of those accused and the clarification of certain concepts in the Statute of Rome such as the court's differerent definitions of "case" and "situation."

 

The Assembly of the Member States , the UN Security Councial and the other agencies of the UN, including the peacekeeping operations and the rapid response forces, must unite to face the challenge. The existence of multiple investigations and arrest warrants without arrests or trials could be disastrous for the ICC. Other subjects related to cooperation among states and international cooperation will be very important to the Assembly of Member States in the coming years.

 

On this World International Justice Day we celebrate the enormous advances that have been made to reinforce and advance the principles of international justice by means of creating the ICC. We continue to be convinced that international justice has a dissuading effect upon the perpetration and commission of systematic and generalized atrocities. We believe that the ICC is an institution that will contribute to the prevention and reconciliation of conflicts in which the worst international crimes are committed.

 

However, we must not overlook the fact that although we count upon 100 member states and 140 signatories to the Statute of Rome, some of the most influential nations remain outside observers instead of internal actors in the fight against impunity. For this reason we, as civil society, in cooperation with governments and international institutions, assume responsibility for speaking in the name of the victims of world conflicts and of leading this ever larger movement for peace.

 

 

Miguel Antonio Bernal is a law professor at the University of Panama, host of the Alternativa radio show and its new website, president of the Colegio de Abogados Honor Tribunal (the national bar association's disciplinary committee), a member of the Violet Legion (an honor society of intellectuals named by French presidents) for his work as correspondent for Le Monde Diplomatique and a noted Panamanian human rights activist.

 

Also in this section:
Menéndez, Environmental concerns about the canal expansion
What would we be flushing away?

Leis, Strategic visions and canal debates

Gutman, The reverend gets it way out of proportion

Human Rights Watch, Laws that are being violated in the latest Mideast violence

Lerner, End the suffering in the Middle East
Amnesty International, Protect civilians as Israel and Hezbollah fight it out

Silié, National identity in the era of globalization

Moise, US embargo against Cuba under capitalist assault

Sirias, The haunted house I'll never visit

Bernal, The International Criminal Court on its birthday
Hahn, The other side of paradise

News | Business | Editorial | Opinion | Letters | Arts | Review | Community | Fun | Travel
Unclassified Ads | Calendar | Outdoors | Dining | Science | Sports | Español | Front Page
Archives

Left Wing Publications Right Wing Publications

Make the Executive Hotel your headquarters in Panama City --- http://ww.executivehotel-panama.com
Find the boat of your dreams through Evermarine --- http://www.evermarine.com