Saturday, May 29, 2010

IntLawGrrls at ICC Review Conference

(1st in a series of IntLawGrrls' Kampala Conference posts)

The Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court will open in Kampala, Uganda, this Monday, May 31, and will run until June 11. This is the first Review Conference since the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998.
As detailed in the provisional work programme, the Review Conference will begin with a plenary, with statements by the current UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The President of Uganda will also make a statement, as will the President of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties, the President of the ICC and the ICC’s Prosecutor. These statements will be followed by country statements, including statements by many of the 111 States Parties.
On the evening of June 1, discussions on the subject of IntLawGrrls' year long series, the crime of aggression, begin. So do discussions on the Belgian proposal to amend the war crimes provision to prohibit the use during non-international armed conflict of certain weapons (poison or poisoned weapons; asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases; and bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body).
On June 2 and 3, there will be a series of stocktaking exercises, evaluating the ICC’s past, current and future impact on victims and affected communities, as well as peace and justice issues, and the application of the ICC’s complementarity and cooperation provisions.
The remainder of the Review Conference will be dedicated to discussions on the crime of aggression, the Belgian proposal, strengthening the enforcement of sentences, and the potential deletion of article 124 (a transitional provision permitting a State to make a declaration excluding the Court’s jurisdiction over war crimes for seven years).
In addition, civil society will hold a wide variety of side-events, taking place in the People’s Space. One that we are very excited about is the Women’s Court, to be held all day on June 1. It is being organized by the Hague-based nongovernmental organization Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice. At this Court, women’s rights activists from Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Sudan will speak. (image at right courtesy of the Women's Initiatives)
Approximately 2000 state representatives and representatives of nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations will be in attendance at the Review Conference, including a number of our very own IntLawGrrls. Beth Van Schaack will serve as an academic advisor on the U.S. delegation (her series posts here, here, and here), and yours truly will serve as an academic advisor on the Canadian delegation. A new guest, Pam Spees, and I will contribute a joint post (here) in honor of our recently departed friend and mentor, Rhonda Copelon, now an IntLawGrrls foremother. In addition to this and to my solo posts (here, here, here, here, and here), IntLawGrrls planning to post from Kampala include Susana SáCouto (here) and Kelly Askin. Another new guest, our colleague Leila Nadya Sadat, will contribute posts from Kampala (here and here). IntLawGrrls guests/alumnae will also contribute: Margaret deGuzman will post about the stocktaking complementarity discussion (here; additional post here), and Brigid Inder, Kate Orlovsky and Katrina Anderson will blog (here) about the Women’s Court and other Women’s Initiatives events. From elsewhere in our world, IntLawGrrl Diane Marie Amann will write "Against aggression" (here; additional posts here, here, here, here, here, and here), IntLawGrrl Kathleen A. Doty will discuss the ICC and Darfur (here), and IntLawGrrl Naomi Roht-Arriaza will examine a "positive complementarity" analogue in Guatemala (here). Guests/alumnae Pamela Yates will tell us about the work Skylight Pictures is doing in Kampala (here), and Carmen Márquez-Carrasco will provide a post (here) about the European Union and the ICC.
More soon from (and about) Kampala ...

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