Ban Ki-Moon calls on states to support ICC

Monday May 31 2010

Ban  Ki-Moon

SOCCER TIME: Mr Ban Ki-Moon challenges President Museveni (L) during the charity match at Namboole yesterday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA 

By Ismail Musa Ladu & Andrew Mwanguhya

The International Criminal Court (ICC) should be strengthened further to enable it deal with the rampant global impunity decisively, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, has said.

Speaking after a football showdown dubbed “War Victim Day Football Match” organised by among others the Uganda Victim Organisation, Mr Ki-Moon said there will be harmony if the ICC is supported.

“With the strengthening of the ICC we will live in harmony and peace,” he said. He referred to President Museveni as a strong supporter of the ICC.

In his speech, the President said football has brought different people together, presenting an opportunity for people to identify themselves as brothers and sisters.

“We are expressing solidarity with the victims and we are saying impunity will not be tolerated,” President Museveni said.

The six minute cameo saw Mr Ki-Moon’s team, Justice, go down 1-0 to President Museveni’s Dignity. The winning goal was scored by the Darfur war victim, Abdallah Lasanusi. The two leaders came on late and only played for six minutes.
Missing in action was the UN Former Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan, who is expected to address the International Criminal Court Review Conference on Monday. He will also launch the Peoples Forum, where civil society and other stakeholders will interact with victims of the northern Uganda war and discuss matters relating to how best the ICC can carry its mandate without being seen to be unfair to other actors.

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The conference is expected to evaluate the ICC, and make it more effective in prosecuting the world’s most horrendous criminals. Those who attend will discuss the court’s past and future, and will propose changes to its founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

The issues
Among the hot issues to be discussed include the legal definition of the crime of aggression, and a discussion of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime. Also on the agenda will be the discussion on the stocktaking of the ICC’s performance, and ultimately the review of Article 124, which allows nations to postpone ICC jurisdiction over war crimes and an amendment to the Rome Statute proposed by Belgium.

The court is designed to complement existing national judicial systems. It can exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute horrendous crimes. However, the primary responsibility to investigate and punish crimes is left to individual states.

To date, the court has opened investigations into five situations: northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Darfur (Sudan), and Kenya.
The court has indicted 14 people, seven of whom remain fugitives, two have died (or are believed to have died), four are in custody, and one is appearing voluntarily before the court.

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