[Press Release] Asian Civil Society Calls for Stronger Support for the ICC: Follow Lead of the Philippines and Malaysia towards Greater Accountability for Serious Crimes – CICC

File Photo by PCICC

Dear all,

On 11-12 April 2011, CICC member organizations from 11 countries within the Asia region met in The Philippines for a two-day meeting to discuss strategies to strengthen national and regional campaigns for the ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute – the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Participants adopted a set of key recommendations addressed to Asian governments, ASEAN, SAARC, the ICC, the Coalition Secretariat and its members, as well as other international organizations.

To read the final recommendations and see the full list of signatories, visit:
http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents

You will also find below two related press releases issued by the Coalition for the ICC and the Philippine Coalition for the ICC.

For more information on the Coalition’s campaigns in the Asia region, visit: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=region&idureg=7

Best regards,

CICC Secretariat
http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org

******************

PRESS RELEASES

1. “Asian Civil Society Calls for Stronger Support for the ICC: Follow Lead of the Philippines and Malaysia towards Greater Accountability for Serious Crimes,”

http://www.iccnow.org/documents/CICC_PR_ASIA_RSM_210411__final.pdf

“Meeting in the Philippines last week, several Coalition members called on Asian governments and other relevant stakeholders to support justice for the most serious crimes by joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), the world’s first global, permanent, independent criminal court with jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. From 11-12 April 2011, civil society organizations from 11 countries within the Asia region met in Quezon City, the Philippines, to set up strategies to advance support for justice and accountability throughout the region, one of the most under-represented regions at the ICC.

Participants adopted final recommendations addressed to Asian governments, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the ICC, the Coalition Secretariat and its members, as well as other international organizations. They called on Asian governments to support justice and accountability in the region and insisted on the role that regional organizations, such as ASEAN and SAARC, can play in this process. NGOs also highlighted the need to take necessary measures to move forward with the implementation of the Rome Statute in domestic legislations.

“States must step up their efforts and commit themselves toward ending Asia’s under-representation in the ICC,” says Evelyn Serrano, the Coalition’s Regional Coordinator for Asia-Pacific. “We call on Asian governments to support the fight against impunity, and in particular urge the Philippines and Malaysia to turn their words into action and honor their public commitment to promptly join the ICC,” she adds.

The Philippines and Malaysia appear to be on the verge of joining the Court. In March 2011, the Malaysian government announced publicly that the Cabinet has approved accession to the Rome Statute but still needs to take the final step of depositing the accession instrument at the United Nations. All the relevant agencies within the Philippines’ Executive Branch have also endorsed ratification of the Rome Statute, and on 7 March 2011, President H.E. Benigno Aquino III announced that he had transmitted the ICC documents to the Senate for its approval, which is the final step to complete the process.

Currently, only seven Asian states — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, and Timor-Leste —are ICC members. With additional Asian member states, the under-represented Asia region will have a much stronger voice at the ICC and will be able to participate in a more meaningful manner, especially in the annual Assembly of States Parties (ASP) – the ICC’s governing body – where states nominate and elect different officials as will be the case in the upcoming 2011 December elections for new judges and a new chief prosecutor, among other positions.

Participants noted that human rights violations have plagued the region over the past decades and that, in some cases, these violations continue to occur. Joining the ICC thus represents a strong deterrent effect that will contribute toward the prevention of future gross human rights violations in the Asia region, and ultimately contribute to the global fight against impunity.

Background: The ICC is the world’s first permanent international court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. There are currently 114 ICC states parties to the Rome Statute, the Court’s founding treaty. Central to the Court’s mandate is the principle of complementarity, which holds that the Court will only intervene if national legal systems are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. There are currently six active investigations before the Court: the Central African Republic; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, the Sudan; Kenya; Libya; and Uganda. The ICC has publicly issued 15 arrest warrants and nine summonses to appear. Three trials are ongoing. The Office of the Prosecutor has made public that it is examining at least nine situations on four continents, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, and Palestine.

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court includes 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 different countries working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC; ensure that the Court is fair, effective and independent; make justice both visible and universal; and advance stronger national laws that deliver justice to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

To read the final recommendations and see the full list of signatories, see:
http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/CICC_Asia_RSM_April_2011_Final_Recommendations.pdf

For more information on the Coalition’s campaigns in the Asia region, visit: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=region&idureg=7…”

2. “PNoy’s action on Rome Statute hailed by CICC Asia network,”

Philippine Coalition for the ICC, 13 April 2011, http://www.pcicc.wordpress.com

“ Country representatives of member organizations of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, gathered in Manila for a Regional Strategy Meeting for Asia on 11-13 April 2011,  applaud the decision by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to transmit the instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute to the Philippine Senate.

Yap Swee Seng of Forum-Asia File Photo source: hrday.ouk.edu.tw

Yap Swee Seng of Forum-Asia File Photo source: hrday.ouk.edu.tw

“As part of a global movement to end impunity, we welcome the President’s decision,” says Mr Yap Swee-Seng, the executive director of the Bangkok-based Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia). “This is a historic moment long in coming. The Philippines signed the Rome Statute way back in December 2000, and yet it has taken more than a decade for that signed treaty to get to the next stage in the constitutional process of ratification, namely, the vote by the Philippine Senate.”

”That the Philippines will hopefully join the ICC under an Aquino presidency holds a symbolic power that will boost the Philippines’ commitment to human dignity, and will help us convince other Asian countries to follow in the noble path on which the Philippines has now embarked,” Mr. Yap continued.

Another participant in the strategy meeting, Mr Bhatara Ibnu Reza of Imparsial (The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor) says the representatives of the Coalition member organizations  have worked with human rights victims in their own countries and “are aware that President Aquino has first-hand knowledge of the human costs of state coercion and abuse, having borne the agony of his father’s detention when the Philippines was under martial law – through solitary confinement, a death sentence under a kangaroo court, exile and execution on the airport tarmac upon his return. We are aware of the resounding electoral mandate that he received during the presidential elections of May 2010.”

Raul Pangalangan

Raul Pangalangan by PCICC

PCICC co-chairs Dr Raul Pangalangan and Dr Aurora Parong, updated the Asia CICC network on the plans of the Philippine Senate. In anticipation of the transmittal of the ratification papers, the chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Loren Legarda, has announced the plan to create a sub-committee to be headed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to facilitate the deliberations of the Senate.

The closing statement of the Regional Strategy Meeting for Asia called on Philippine President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to transmit forthwith the Rome Statute to the Philippine Senate, and to bring the moral weight of his office and his resounding electoral mandate to complete the country’s membership in the International Criminal Court. …”

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One thought on “[Press Release] Asian Civil Society Calls for Stronger Support for the ICC: Follow Lead of the Philippines and Malaysia towards Greater Accountability for Serious Crimes – CICC

  1. Pingback: [Event] Celebrate International Justice Day on 17 July – CICC | Human Rights Online Philippines

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