Palestinians vote for first time at UN Assembly

The Palestinians voted for the first time at the UN General Assembly Monday and claimed the moment as a new step in its quest for full recognition by the global body.
Most of the 193 members of the General Assembly stood in applause when Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour cast a vote for a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The Palestinians became observer members of the United Nations on November 29 last year. It cannot vote on UN resolutions, but under UN rules, it and other observers such as the Vatican can vote in elections for judges on international courts.

“This is an important step in our march for freedom and independence and full membership of the United Nations,” Mansour told the assembly. But afterwards, Mansour told reporters: “I think that this is a very, very special moment in the history of the struggle of the Palestinian people at the United Nations.” “It is another step for strengthening the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena,” he added.
Mansour acknowledged it was a “symbolic” vote, but said: “It is an important one because it reflects that the international community, particularly the General Assembly, is hungry and waiting for the state of Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations.”

Asked whether the United States or Israel had objected to their vote in the UN assembly, Mansour said: “They can’t. This is a very crystal clear case.”

The Palestinians have sought to become an observer member of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, which organizes the International Criminal Court. The assembly is to meet in The Hague this week.
The United States blocked the move even though it is not a a formal member of the court, diplomats said.
“The United States said this was not acceptable — they refused,” according to one UN diplomat.
“It would have been a step too far for the Americans. They can cause problems even though they are not members,” added a second diplomat who confirmed the move.

Source: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/19-Nov-2013/palestinians-vote-for-first-time-at-un-assembly?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online%2F24hours-news+(The+Nation+%3A+Latest+News)

UNSC refused the deferral

Now the UK has proposed that Mr Kenyatta be allowed to participate in his trial by video link from Nairobi, which would require a change to the rules governing the ICC. This would clearly resolve the objections relating to both governance and regional security, making it impossible for the AU to continue with its campaign for the trials of sitting presidents to be deferred until they complete their term of office, without undermining its credibility completely.

Source: http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/editorials/2013/11/19/editorial-africa-must-grasp-icc-escape-plan

Peace talks hinder prosecution of Israel for its crimes, says Palestinian official

The Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has said that the ongoing peace talks hinder the prosecution of Israel for its crimes, especially through the International Criminal Court for the assassination of Yasser Arafat. “The Palestinian Authority is the only official body to demand the formation of an international commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the assassination of President Arafat and to prosecute those involved,” he pointed out. The PA’s demand was put to US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to the occupied territories. “However,” added Khreisheh, “the Palestinian leadership is not serious about an international investigation into Arafat’s death because then it would have to stop the negotiations with Israel and go to the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli leaders as war criminals.

Reason for sharing is to see how international community works. Even though they claim to know the perpetrator and want him/them to be punished, they are not going straight for it.

Source: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/8415-peace-talks-hinder-prosecution-of-israel-for-its-crimes-says-palestinian-official

Tripoli cleared to try former spy chief

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced she will not appeal last month’s ruling by judges at The Hague-based court that Libya is free to try Abdullah al-Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s former spy chief.

According to a report on the News24 site, the judges last month announced that since Libya was able and willing to give Gaddafi’s head of intelligence a fair trial on charges that were similar to the ICC’s, there was no need to transfer him to the ICC’s custody. Senussi’s lawyers have said they will appeal that ruling. ‘After fully studying the decision, my office has concluded that there is no legal basis for appeal,’ ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council during a meeting on Libya.

source: http://www.legalbrief.co.za/article.php?story=20131118083105161

Is Canada Guilty of War Crimes?

 

On November 9th, investigative journalist and human rights activist, John McNamer sent a request to the International Criminal Court to investigate Canada’s complicity in war crimes.

 

McNamer argues that Canada has “actively and intentionally failed to comply with legal obligations under The Convention against Torture and the Rome Statue” (page 1).

 

McNamer’s submissions to the ICC include that Canada has transferred detainees to the United States and Afghanistan with full knowledge that the detainees would be in extreme danger of torture and that Canada uses and shares intelligence likely obtained through torture. McNamer provides over 250 documents in support of his allegations.

 

In order for the ICC to have jurisdiction to investigate Canadians, Canada must be unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out the investigation or prosecution. McNamer contends Canada is unwilling.

 

As Canada is a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC Prosecutor has the power to initiate investigation proprio motu. There must be a reasonable basis on which to proceed.

 

It has also been reported that a group of Egyptian lawyers have submitted a complaint to the ICC accusing President Barack Obama of being an accessory to the crimes against humanity committed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. However, unlike Canada, the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute.

 

The only way the ICC could acquire jurisdiction to investigate President Obama is through a referral by the United Nations Security Council and the United States is one of five countries with veto power

– See more at: http://mwcnews.net/news/americas/33465-canada-war-crimes.html#sthash.DpSv9Vqt.dpuf

UNSC refused to defer the trial

So, finally United Nations Security Council (UNSC) refused to defer the trial of Kenya’s President and Vice President for one year.(1)The power to defer the proceedings has been invested with the UNSC under Article 16 of the Rome Statute. For purpose of deference, Kenya required total 9 votes according to Article 27 of UN Charter which states that matters except non-procedural require 9 affirmative votes in UNSC including all five permanent members.(2) But, it could gather only 7 votes because other eight members of UNSC abstained from voting which includes USA, UK and France. Whereas China and Russia voted in favor of deferral. The reason cited to defer the trial was that ‘court case is distracting and preventing Kenyatta and Ruto from carrying out their duties. And reference was also made to a terrorist attack in in September at a mall in Nairobi that left over 60 people dead.(3) China’s representative said that ‘Deferring ICC proceedings against Kenyan leaders is not only the concern of Kenya, but also the concern of all African countries. It is indeed an urgent need dictated bythe interest of maintaining regional peace and stability.’ (4) The question this remark raises is that can justice be traded off for peace and stability? what is meaning of peace without justice?

The African nations, led by Rwanda, who proposed the resolution faced strong criticism for the challenge and the way it was forced upon the council i.e. resolution was called as ‘un-necessary’, which created ‘artificial confrontation’ between International Criminal Court(ICC) and UNSC. (5) African countries was using the narrative of discrimination which is unfortunately true to some extent. This is evident from the fact that 20 cases in 8 situations brought before ICC are all from African Region. (6)But I don’t subscribe to the idea that we should let go of one criminal because others are not prosecuted. that reasoning is absurd. And another point to be noted is that out of these 8 situations about 4 situations were referred by those states themselves.

To date, four States Parties to the Rome Statute – Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Mali – have referred situations occurring on their territories to the Court. (7) visited on 18-11-2013

But that should not blind us to fact that some countries are using ICC and exercising power without bearing any responsibility. Yes! I am talking about USA. But what about the citizens of Kenya. So there was poll conducted according to which  67 percent of 2,060 Kenyans surveyed think that President Uhuru Kenyatta should attend his trial at the International Criminal Court.(8) Apparently, a common man of Kenya doesn’t subscribe to the views of African Union.

Background:

The ICC charged Kenyatta and Ruto with crimes against humanity, including murder, forcible population transfer and persecution, for their alleged roles in postelection violence that left more than 1,000 people dead in late 2007 and early 2008. Kenyatta also is accused of responsibility for rape and other inhumane acts carried out by a criminal gang known as the Mungiki, which was allegedly under his control.