International Criminal Court (ICC)
(Emphasis added) (u/c=under construction)Relevant Minister and Government Department:Deputy Brian Cowan, Minister for Foreign AffairsUN website on ICC
80, St Stephens Green, D 2
Minister's Office: Phone 408 2137 Fax 408 2400
Human Rights Unit: Phone 408 2570 Fax 478 5923
Women's Caucus for Gender Justice
Amnesty International (Irish section)
Fury as US pulls out of ICCIn a move removing itself from the new Global Court, the US "unsigned" the ICC last Monday, 6 May 2002.
According to a report by Richard Delevan in the Sunday Business Post, 12 May, the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, received a short note from the US State Department, notifying him that the US - already nominally committed to the treaty by a last-minute act by previous president Bill Clinton - did not now intend to ratify the treaty.
Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Canada, the European Union (including Ireland?) expressed disapproval. Leading Democrat Senator Chris Dodd did also, though it seems Democrats must have been split on the issue, otherwise it would have gone through under Clinton.
Senator Henry Hyde said that the US could not accept the jurisdiction of an international institution that threatens to prosecute and imprison Americans without benefit of the protections enshrined in the US Bill of Rights. As a country supplying troops for international peace-keeping, Ireland would have similar problems, except that Ireland would not be the same target as the US, unless it was seen as an agent of the EU.
The Women's Caucus for Gender Justice sees the ICC as "The Beijing Platform IN Action", or "Putting the ICC on the Beijing+5 Agenda".
This reverse for the ICC coincides with the trial of strength at the Child Summit in the same week, when the EU initially sought to stitch in abortion rights into a document "A world fit for children" (sic), but had done a U-turn by Friday 10 May, dropping demands for such phraseology.
12 May 2002
ICC established 11 April 2002
On the joint submission of ratifications by Ireland and 9 other countries, the ICC came into being on Thursday, 11 April 2002. These 10 ratifications brought the total to 66, in excess of the 60 which it had been decided would trigger establishment of the Court.
The ICC will now, according to what has been agreed between the 139 countries who originally signed up to it, have jurisdiction over all countries, regardless of whether they have signed and ratified or not.
The US has indicated it may "unsign". It will be interesting to see how enforcement against the US would work out should a case arise.
The launch of the ICC on 11 April is fully reported on the website of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court,
For signatories and ratifications see:
1. General info - this site
2. UN site
3. Coalition for the ICC:Full list
The next steps
According to the CICC website, three areas had been identified concerning cooperation between the ICC and State Parties to the Rome Statute which need to be addressed. These were:1. Surrender of Irish nationals and nationals of other states;The website also states that a Progress Report by Ireland "The Implications for Council of Europe Member States of the Ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court," Strasbourg, 2001, is available at the Council of Europe's (COE) website: http://legal.coe.int/icc/, although we could not locate this report at a first attempt.
2. The constitutional issues of immunities and national referendums; and
3. Substantive criminal law issues arising from the need to incorporate the crimes in the Statute into domestic law.
There is stated to be available also at COE, their Report on ratification status.
The CICC website is worth a visit. It is more up to date and better presented than the official UN site.
The UK has the following legislation completed or in process at April 2002:
The International Criminal Court Act 2001:
Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Bill:
In Ireland, the legislation is probably at an advanced stage of preparation.
Professor Wilkins, former Assistant to the US Solicitor General, told LifeSite that the ICC could eventually be used to try "the Pope or other religious leaders" since issues such as abortion and homosexuality would inevitably fall within the ICC's jurisdiction.
"Under the Court's universal and complementary jurisdiction, the Court can and probably will attempt to change social norms in sometimes troublesome areas not admitting of a single, world-wide solution," says Dr. Wilkins.
"The International Criminal Court could well become the mechanism by which the Western innovation of judicially (rather than legislatively) crafted social policy - and its accompanying consequences - are exported to the rest of the world.
"Of all revolutions through the centuries, this is the quietest. Of all the attempts made over the years to foist one group's will on everyone else, this is the most subtle and
simultaneously the most far-reaching - the world-wide constitutional convention no one knew about," he concludes.
More at LifeSite Daily News: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/apr/020411.html#1
Some parallel developments
1. Amnesty International's new role?
Amnesty International has apparently had an important function in the establishment of the ICC, going back to the Rome Conference of 1998, and perhaps earlier.
Last year, AI Ireland, probably in line with other national branches, decided to significantly expand its remit.
An indication of what may be AI's new role may be gleaned from the series of fact sheets it has issued in connection with the ICC. See, for example Fact sheet 4 on Prosecuting crimes against humanity.
Amnesty's interpretations are enlightening, eg, (abridged)What distinguishes ordinary crimes from crimes against humanity?2. A boost for extradition! - report
First, the acts which constitute crimes, such as murder, must have been "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack". However, the Fact sheet says, the word "attack" here does not mean a military attack and can include laws and administrative measures such as deportation and forced displacement.
Second, they must be directed against a civilian population".
Third, they must have been committed pursuant to "a State or organizational policy". Thus, the Fact sheet says, they can be committed by state agents or by persons acting with their knowledge or consent.
What acts constitute crimes against humanity?
The Fact sheet quotes from the Statute 11 types of acts capable of amountig to crimes against humanity. These include murder, extermination, enslavement deportation, etc. They also include:
"Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity. .."
"Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national ethnic, cultural, religious, gender or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any crime under the Statute, .."
Is any link to armed conflict required?
According to the Fact sheet, "jurisprudence and scholarly analysis have made clear that ther is no requirement tha tcrimes take place during armed conflict for them to be crimes against humanity".
Is there any requirement that the acts be committed with a discriminatory intent?
According to the Fact sheet, there is no such requirement in international law or the Statute, except with the crime agains thumanity of persecution.
According to a report by Carol Coulter (Irish Times, 15 April 2002), discussions have been taking place within the European Union on a new European Arrest Warrant.
The new arrangement is intended to replace the existing extradition proceedings in the following ways:1. "Dual criminality" would be removed, ie, the offence of which the person is accused need no longer be a crime in both states.Academics pointed out that there was no prior consultation with Ireland on this proposal from the EU Commission.
2. A warrant issued by a judge in one state would have to be executed in another. This replaces the principle in some countries, in that they did not extradite their own citizens.3. A boost for Public Order! - report
According to a letter in the Irish Times, 12 April, from a Seamus Ratigan, a massive military exercise involving 15,000 NATO (including some ERRF) troops took place recently near Stettin, Poland.
According to the letter, the object was to train NATO military personel in suppression of civilian resistance to NATO military operations.
4. Bobby makes a re-appearance
After an absence of 80 years, a British helmeted Bobby made an appearance on Grafton Street in late 2000.
It wasn't a fancy dress outfit. He was a real Bobby on official duty.
It may have been nothing more than a charming courtesy thing between two friendly neighbouring countries. Or was it testing the water for some future EU-related development in connection with co-operation on "public order"?
Enquiries to Fianna Fáil - the Republican Party.
5. Mary Robinson for the ICC?
16 April 2002
Extradition soon on Statute BookWith only two countries now needed to make the ICC enforceable internationally, legislation on extradition, "forced pregnancy" and much else can be expected to be on the Statute Book before the end of the year 2002.
This follows from the Referendum in June last when 630,000 voted for a statute they knew next to nothing about. (At the time of the Referendum, hard copy of the 285-page Statute was not available in any bookshop or Dublin public library. This website is the most significant source of critical information that we know of on the ICC in the English language. And yes, we do have a hard copy of the Statute, purchased in Geneva!).
This will be a major step forward in the direction of (undemocratic) world government, and the Brave New World. Note also the current (March 2002) totalitarian agenda being enacted by the EU, and the hints of new powers for the Gardaí in dealing with "public order offences" (ie, street protests) (See The Irish Times 13 March 2002)
14 March 2002
Challenge to ICC voteA challenge to the ICC vote in June 2001 was to have been heard in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, 12 March 2002 (adjourned from Thursday, 14 February) ( Supreme Court office, phone 872 5555 )
However, according to information received from the Supreme Court office, the appellent did not appear in Court, and the case was dismissed.
The challenge had been by a former prisoner who was not allowed to vote in the referendum. A similar challenge was made in respect of the vote on the removal of the death penalty. (Report by Mark Brennock, Irish Times, 2 January 2002)
9 January 2002
14 March 2002 update
Voluntary contributions- how acceptable?The expenses of the Court are required to be provided from contributions assessed on the State Parties, and from funds provided by the United Nations. (Article 115).
Article 116 provides that voluntary contributions may also be made:"Without prejudice to article 115, the Court may receive and utilize, as additional funds, voluntary contributions from Governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities, in accordance with relevant criteria adopted by the Assembly of States Parties."In Geoffrey Robertson's, QC, very readable - and affordable - Crimes against Humanity, he suggests that the idea of enabling the making of private donations to be made had come from "Ted Turner's lavish contribution to the UN". Another reason suggested was the opportunity it affords for the donation of conscience money by arms corporations. (p.363 Crimes against Humanity - The struggle for global justice, by Geoffrey Robertson, Penguin, 2000, UK£8.99, ISBN 0-14-025029-8)
Such donations would of course only be made "in accordance with relevant criteria adopted by the Assembly of States Parties". As is noted elswhere on this web-site, the making of extra-budgetary contributions is a feature of the UN system. The site of the UN headquarters at New York was provided from the private munificence of one individual. In the case of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR), two-thirds of the job budget comes from voluntary sources. (p.292 Mary Robinson - the Authorised biography, by Olivia O'Leary and Helen Burke, Hodder & Stoughton, 1998, ISBN 0-340-71738-6).
(Ireland has promised to make contributions to the UNHCHR of £1.25m for 2001 (almost doubling the grant), £1.7m for 2002, and £2m for 2003, all of these contributions presumably additional to the normal UN levy which should be covering our share of UNHCHR costs as it is).
Nonetheless, no matter how high the motive of the donor, and many, including probably Mr Turner, will be contributing from the sincerest of motives to alleviate the widespread human misery that exists, and that can be materially assisted by their generosity, it is an arrangement that lacks full accountability and must be engaged in with caution.
The issue is of particular significance in the case of the Intenational Criminal Court. We are not here dealing with activities which are voluntarily participated in by client countries, as in the case of other UN activities.
In the case of the ICC, countries have surrendered a certain amount of sovereignty to the international organisation. This is a new and different arrangement. The ICC has effective power to access the legal and law enforcement systems of participating countries.
In these circumstances, it is suggested that a more rigorous system of accountability is required, and that the acceptance of voluntary contributions is not appropriate.
As well as its application to Article 116 as described above, the foregoing should apply also to gratis personnel offered by States Parties to the Prosecutor's office under Article 44. There should, in fact, be a clear prohibition on such arrangements.
2 November 2001
Galway calls for action on ICC
According to the ICHR, further legislation is needed to enable Courts to "comply fully with requests for cooperation and surrender by the Court".
Further, is says, enabling legislation should also incorporate the definitions of the core crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes within Irish law. The Centre does not specifically mention the so-called crime of "forced pregnancy", but if definitions of "core crimes" are to be included in Irish law, it is hard to see that "forced pregnancy" would be excluded, particularly in view of Mary Robinson's congratulations to the Women's Caucus for succeeding in getting it included in the ICC statute. It is equally hard to see how the vulnerable position of the unborn child would be improved by these moves.
The Centre feels that the results of the referendum are "impressive", and that they show that the concept of international justice is something that has "captured the public imagination".
The Centre calls for early ratification of the Statute. Irish nationals might otherwise lose out on any jobs that might be going.
The Centre ran a week-long course (w/c 28
July 2001, (also Race Week)) at NUI Galway to enable students,
legal professionals, NGO activists, etc, to engage in a "detailed overview"
of, inter alia, the structure and "future operations" of the ICC. Charge
for the course was 350 euros, incl. accommodation.
30 July 2001
International Criminal Court
Challenge to Referendum
1. According to a recent report, (Irish Times, 25 June), a prisoner at Mountjoy is to challenge the result of the referendum on the International Criminal Court. Justice Mella Carroll has ruled that she is satisfied that there was prima facie evidence of irregularity in the conduct of this referendum.
The NOTICC Campaign has no connection with this challenge and has no information on the grounds put forward. However, we are not at all surprised at this development.
There are many grounds for disquiet at the manner in which this referendum was placed before the Irish people. We have the gravest doubts that it represents in any sense, the will of the people.
2. The referendum was carried by 64% against 36%.
Of the almost 1m who voted (35% of the electorate), 630,000 voted in favour (22% of the electorate) and 350,000 against.
3. This referendum has been a massive fraud on the public.
4. The International Criminal Court Statute is a very substantial document, and there are significant and complex implications for the Irish people.
5. The public has been pressurised into making a far-reaching decision without being given either the time or the proper information for an informed choice.
They have further not been given either the truth or the whole truth.
6. The Government has led people to think that the Court is necessary to bring war criminals, such as those in Cambodia, to justice. This is not the truth. War criminals and those perpetrating crimes against humanity have been successfully brought to justice in the past. The ICC is only a slightly different method of doing so.
7. The Government has also given the impression that the Court is only about war crimes. This is less than the whole truth.
They have not told the public that major pressure groups (eg the WCGJ) have declared their intention of using the court as "a tool" for imposing a world-wide agenda for social change, one opposed to Christian values. The introduction of a so-called "crime" of "forced pregnancy" as a means of giving back-door recognition to abortion has not been mentioned by any member of the Government or any TD. This is a material omission.
8. The loss of sovereignty has been played down. Under the Statute, we would have to comply with extradition demands. Trial by foreign judges in Ireland has not been acceptable to Irish people in the past: trial by foreign judges in a foreign country, without the benefit of Irish constitutional safeguards, is likely to be less appealing.
All this, and more, is a first step towards an undemocratic and unaccountable world governance.
9. The Government has withheld this information from the public. In this it has been assisted by the public service broadcaster, RTE, and, equally seriously, the Referendum Commission. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Commission has been working for the Government rather than for the people.
10. The ICC Statute is not available to anyone in this country without access to the internet. Even then, considerable study is necessary to establish the facts, and to investigate the implications.
Yet the Government has induced 64% of the public to vote away their Constitutional rights to a fair trial under Irish law on Irish soil, with a woolly, and unfounded, assurance that this is necessary to bring war criminals to justice in Cambodia. This is pure bunkum.
11. What the Government has saddled the Irish public with is outrageous. There should be a public inquiry to investigate how the public's trust came to be betrayed, and who is responsible.
12. The Government should now:
1. Acknowledge this gross blunder (if that is what has occurred),
2. Have this referendum declared null and void.
3. Inform the public as to what the ICC is all about.
4. Initiate a debate on the desirablity or otherwise of a referendum, based on respect, rather than contempt, for the citizen.
13. Note that we are not advocating a re-run of this infamous referendum.
In our view, the members of the public can have no idea of what this Court is about, and no-one ever asked for this referendum in the first place.
26 June 2001, minor revision 27 June 2001
Blunder or fraud?What have our legislators done, or do they know themselves?
1. On looking at the ICC Statute, and its two substantial appendices, at the documents on the conferences settling the issues, at the ambitions of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice, and at the reports on the Dáil debates, it is difficult to avoid the question: did our legislators themselves know what it was that they were asking the public to make a decision on?
2. How many of the TD's saw any of the documents referred to?
3. How many of them ever had in their hands the Statute document?
4. If there were any, where did they get it from?
The Statute, the subject of the referendum, cannot still be bought in this country, it is not available in any general public library in Dublin City or County, and it cannot be downloaded from the Internet (for copyright reasons).
5. So, unless our TD's got special copies flown in from Geneva, how did they come to be so knowledgeable about it, at least in regard to Cambodia and Yugoslavia?
6. If the ICC is such a good thing, isn't it strange that, outside of the Dáil, and Minister Cowan's sole press conference:
1. We were not told more about it, and,26 June 2001
2. No Government Minister or TD defended it in public?
RTE maintains silence on ICC1. Airtime given by RTE was (approximate times, subject to verification):
English language, incl. Lyric:
TV: 6 minutes
Radio: 45 minutes
TV: 5 minutes
Radio: 25 minutes
2. No tv current affairs debate.
Even the Death Penalty referendum was given a tv debate.
3. Apart from one question, no Government Minister or TD has defended the ICC proposal on radio or tv. (Defended by MEP Proinsias de Rossa, TD, Jan O'Sullivan, TD, both Labour, and Jim O'Keeffe, TD, Fine Gael).
Therefore, RTE has not challenged the Government on the proposal and did not allow anyone else to do so either.
4. On English language tv, no-one was allowed to personally articulate the case against: what little there was, was done by voice-over.
5. Access to monitoring records (if any), being sought under Freedom of Information Act to confirm above, but initial request refused.
Complaint lodged with RTE: more later.
30 July 2001
NOTOICC Campaign leaflet
The International Criminal CourtIssued by NOTICC Campaign Phone 2048281 May 2001
A referendum on Life and Liberty
Life: Page 1
It is untrue to say we need ICC for Cambodia
War crimes have been satisfactorily dealt with in the past. A permanent institution will end up in empire-building. Giving an unaccountable foreign court the power to arrest and try Irish citizens will not achieve anything in Cambodia, or elsewhere.
Sovereignty over our courts must not be given away
Our right to determine our own destiny, and order our own affairs is guaranteed by Article 6 of the Irish Constitution: "All powers of government, … derive … from the people, whose right it is … to decide all questions of national policy …". You, the people, are the boss, it says. We must not surrender any more.
Where are the legal safeguards?
In the ICC Statute there is:
No guarantee of due process,
No right to a public and speedy trial by an impartial jury,
No right to confront one's accusers,
No protection from repeated and similar charges.
The Prosecutor may keep results of investigations secret.
More than war crimes: what we haven't been told
The "Case For the ICC" speaks of support for "human rights". This term is now coming to mean social and economic rights, unrelated to Christian values. The important pressure group, Women's Caucus for Gender Justice (www.iccwomen.org) makes no secret if its intention to use the ICC as "a tool" as a means of furthering the Beijing agenda.
We have not been told the ICC could be used for forcing changes to domestic social legislation. What else have we not been told?
Private funding means a private court
The prosecutor may accept "gratis personnel" (Art.44). How can we be sure that no private agenda is served by contributions from private foundations and non-governmental organisations, ie, who will be prosecuted and who will not?
Why the rush, and why the silence?
If this is how we are being treated now, what will it be like if we sign away our rights?
Vote NO to a treaty for tyranny
Vote NO to the International Criminal CourtInfo. only on the internet,eg,: http://indigo.ie/~imr/
If you don't know, who cares?In response to Christian Solidarity Party's (CSP) advice "If you don't know, vote NO", the Referendum Commission has come up with a counter slogan "If you don't know, find out". CSP's view is that a "Yes" is irrevocable and for ever: a "NO" means we can look at it again when we're given more time, and some information.
The Referendum Commission's slogan has been repeated ad nauseum over the last few weeks, and most people will have got the most of it off by heart by now.
As a piece of advice, particularly on the ICC, it is in fact quite useless.
In trying to explain the substantial 300 page (50,000 word) ICC Statute and annexures the Referendum Commission's published literature is scanty, to put it mildly.
Then you can't buy a copy here or in the UK.
So, unless one has access to the internet, there is no way of finding out, short of taking the plane to Geneva.
The CSP's advice remains:
If you don't know, vote NO!
(and do vote, otherwise those knowing less than you do, will be deciding for you, (as occured with the abolition of the right to bail)).
7 June 2001
According to information released under the Freedom of Information Act, the Referendum Commission paid RTE £545,000 for radio and television advertisements.
Two-thirds of this some went on tv adverts. The figures refer to Radio 1, 2FM, RTE tv and Network 2.
As far as the ICC is concerned, the advice given "If you don't know, find out", was totally useless, and the expenditure thus a total waste of money.
You still (26 June) cannot:1. Buy the Statute,
2. Look it up in an ordinary public library in Dublin city or County (including the Ilac Centre library),
3. Download the Statute from the Internet. It is copyright!
Trusting their leaders, 630,000 people said "yes" to a piece of legislation that will bind them and their children, yet which they have no access to!
26 June 2001
There being no partisan links shown in connection with the ICC, we asked to be linked, with a view to providing wider access to information on the ICC than is provided by the Commission.
But no. The statements the Commission prepares must be "fair to all interests concerned", they said. The EM and NP sites displayed the arguments of two groups arguing both for and against the Nice Treaty, and the UN and EU facilitates voters in obtaining copies of and further factual information. "The creation of further links is not anticipated at this stage".
Draw your own conclusions!
7 June 2001
Media coverage of the ICC referendumBroadcast media
(That we know of, from 1 May 2001)(under construction)
Day Date Time Dur'n Stn Prog Speaker Note Comment Thu 24 6.01 45sec RTE tv news For press conf./Brian Cowan Realspeak Fri 25 6.01 20sec RTE tv news Against press conf.: NOTICC -Report Broke down! 2m 15sec RTE tvnews Report 2/3 for 9.00 35sec RTE tvnews Against press conf.: NOTICC - Report Voicover 2m 15sec RTE tvnews Report 2/3 for 15 col ins ITim Against press conf. - Report by C Coulter Sat 26 c11.00am c 10 mins radio1 P. Buckley/J O'Keeffe Tue 29 6.01 ICC not rep. RTE tvnews Against press con: Ch Sol Tue 29 6.30 pm 25 mins R na G 2F, 1A debate Wed 30 c11.00am c 7 mins LMFM P Buckley/N Owen Debate Wed 30 am c 20 mins? RTE P Ken J Rodgers interview Fri 1 c.10 mins Lyric R Greene Mon 4 TG4 M McMeanmain Tue 5 6.30 pm 10 mins RTE 5-7 live P Buckley/Jan O'Sullivan, TD statements TOTAL
6m 10sec tv c 62 mins rad 15 col ins
Print media (u/c)
1. Why the news blackout throughout the media on the International Criminal Court?
2. Why only less than an hour of airtime (plus Irish language) from RTE, the "public service broadcaster", and no debate whatever on tv?
Is RTE working for the Government, or is it that RTE is the Government?3. Apart from Minister Cowan's press conference with himself on 24 May, no Government Minister or TD has publicly defended the ICC outside of the Dáil!
4. Is NUJ policy on abortion a factor?
5. Conclusion: Nobody in Government or the media wants the cat to get out of the bag on the ICC!
Minor revision 30 July 2001
Article 6 says....
You're the boss!
Sovereignty in a nutshell:
Article 6 of the Irish Constitution says:
"1. All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.
2. These powers of government are exercisable only by or on the authority of the organs of State established by this Constitution."
Revolt or Revolution - the contitutional boundaries of the European Community, by Diarmuid Rossa Phelan, Round Hall, c 1996.
1. So we want to trade this in?
What do we expect to get instead that is better?
2. There seems to be a sense of irritation and impatience on the part of the Government with the entire referendum process. The Referendum Commission, in its brochure, wonders aloud if one of the referendums is even necessary. "This thing has been signed already, just tick the box and get on with it" seems to be the message.
Before we scurry off to do the bidding of all concerned, we should give pause for thought about what we might be about to do.
In relation to the International Criminal Court in particular, we are alone in Europe to have the right to be consulted on this matter. Worldwide, I suspect we are only one of a handful. What is this telling us about the Constitution we have, and the respect we ought to have for what is left of it?
We owe an enormous privilege to the vision and foresight of those who are now being described as the madmen and madwomen of 1916, to deValera, and to one Raymond Crotty.
Many of these heroic people paid a high price for putting us in such a fortunate position. Once we have said "yes" to the trading off of what is left of our Constitution, we are not likely to be asked very much in the future by the masters of Europe for our opinions.
The decisions that lie ahead must be regarded as a duty to be carried out with care, not as a chore to be got out of the way.
Most of the Sybilline books have now been burned. We need to treasure all the more those that are left.
That means voting NO to the International Criminal Court, (as well as Nice).
29 May 2001
"Forced pregnancy" - what is it?
Under "Crimes against Humanity" (Art 7), there is a spurious new crime called "forced pregnancy". This is not rape. It is the denial of access to abortion, in certain circumstances. It is the denial of access to abortion that is the new crime.
(extracts: emphasis added)
Crimes against humanity
1. For the purpose of this Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:...
(g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostituion, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other formo of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
2. For the purpose of paragraph 1:...Elements of Crimes
(f) "Forced pregnancy" means the unlawful confinement of a women forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law. This definition shall not in any way be interpreted as affecting national laws relating to pregnancy;
Extract from p.14 PCNICC/2000/1/Add.2: (emphasis added)
"Article 7 (1)(g)-4
Crime against humanity of forced pregnancy
1. The perpetrator confined one or more women forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law.
2. The conduct was committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.
3. The perpetrator knew that the conduct was part of or intended the conduct to be part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.
End of extracts
See Annexure to Statute, Elements of crimesComment 1:
Shorn of the qualifications, this Article seeks to establish in principle a "crime" of obstructing, impeding, or denying access ("unlawful confinement") to abortion.
No matter how obscure or remote the possibility, the recognition of such a crime carries the implicit assumption that, in certain circumstances, there can be a "right" to abortion.
As a civilised nation, we cannot give approval to an assumption that there could be a "right" of a mother to kill her baby, in Ireland or in anywhere else in the world.
The "crime" of "forced pregnancy" is a spurious creation, and must be rejected with the Statute that embodies it.
Page 1 of leaflet issued by NOTICC Campaign:
A vote for the so-called "crime" of
is a vote for
Under "Crimes against Humanity" (Art 7 of the Rome Statute of the ICC), there is a spurious new crime called "forced pregnancy". This is not rape. It is the denial of access to abortion, in certain circumstances. It is the denial of access to abortion that is the new crime.
No matter how obscure or remote the possibility, the recognition of such a crime carries the implicit assumption that, in certain circumstances, there can be a "right" to abortion.
As a civilised nation, we cannot give approval to an assumption that there could be a "right" of a mother to kill her baby, in Ireland or in anyplace else in the world.
If we were to give approval to the ICC, we would be accepting that assumption, and we would leave ourselves open to accepting into our laws the new "crime" of "forced pregnancy". In other words, we would be:
(a) undermining the existing protection to the unborn child in our Constitution, and
(b) rendering any future pro-life amendment either vulnerable, or impossible to draft.
This referendum must be treated as a referendum on the acceptance of abortion, to which we must vote:
NO to Abortion
NO to the International Criminal Court
End of page 1 of NOTICC leaflet
30 May 2001
14 March 2002 ( Elements of crime of "forced pregnancy" added)
International Criminal Court
25 May 2001
Launch of NOTICC campaign on 25 May
at Press Conference held at Buswell's Hotel, Dublin
- Why a permanent institution?
- A "tool" for a social agenda?
- Making the withholding of abortion a crime ("forced pregnancy")
- A treaty for tyranny?
- The unaccountable power of NGOs
- Private funding means a private court
- Back to the drawing board
- A further reason for voting NO
- The Referendum Commission
Official references to the Referendum on the International Criminal Court give the impression that this referendum is one of no consequence, that it is just an open and shut case. This is emphatically not so.
We are told that ratification "would appear" to require an amendment to the Constitution. We may be assured of one thing. We are not being asked as a precaution or out of politeness. We are being asked because the ICC would be in conflict with the Constitution.
Why a permanent institution?
No one would deny the need for a court for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In the past, justice has been effectively administered in the courts of Nuremburg and Tokyo, and more recently for the Lockerbie murders. In all these cases, a court was established which was appropriate to the circumstances. Courts have also been established for the crimes in the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda.
A permanent court would not have the flexibility to meet each case efficiently and effectively. Instead, it would go the way of all such institutions, finding work to justify its existence, and empire-building.
In my view, an adequate case has not been made for the establishment of a permanent institution.
Self-determination is a fundamental principle of the UN Charter. The proposed Court is in contravention of the Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties. The Court transfers a vast amount of decision-making power to judges and a prosecutor who are remote from the people and are, for all practical purposes, unaccountable. Governance by judges is inherently undemocratic.
The personal freedoms of citizens, including freedom of conscience, thought, expression, and religion are best preserved by local autonomy. The power to determine the shape of domestic policy must be kept close to home, and close to the people being governed.
The establishment of the Court is likely to be a first step towards world governance. This is evidenced by the kind of organisations supporting the Court, eg, World Federalist Movement. No longer will the UN see its conventions implemented by "moral suasion", but by the bullying of the bigger nations who will, with legal endorsement, be in a position to impose sanctions, as has happened with Austria.
Ireland has laboured long and arduously to achieve its position as a sovereign nation. Only the most compelling reasons should be accepted for a surrender of any part of that sovereignty.
A "tool" for a social agenda?
In the scant public literature (and debates, being Dail debates only) available, reference has only been made to war and similar-type crimes.
But this is not the full story.
Certain pressure groups, including the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice, make no secret of their plans for the Court. In a booklet published by the Caucus, also on their website (http://www.iccwomen.org/reports/b+5/index.htm), they state they "saw the creation of the world's first permanent criminal court as an opportunity to codify as international law significant advances that women had made [in the Beijing Platform for Action]".
According to their website, Mrs Robinson paid tribute to them for having managed to ensure that "..forced pregnancy and other forms of gender-based and sexual violence are included in the statute of the ICC". ("Forced pregnancy" is not rape; it is the denial of access to abortion, in certain circumstances. It is the denial of access to abortion that is the new crime.)
Under a so-called complementarity clause, (in reality, a supremacy clause) national laws will have to be brought into line with the statute. Pressure groups see huge potential for social change in the long term in this requirement.
Such groups are, of course, entitled to pursue their views, and it is not in contention that certain sex-related crimes ought to be treated as war crimes. What is in contention is that the court, as an international institution, should be accessible for bringing about changes in social policy in otherwise sovereign countries. I will explain.
Making the withholding of abortion a crime
"Despite our belief," the WCGJ says, "that withholding abortion (emphasis added) from raped women should be explicitly defined as a war crime and a crime against humanity, it was painfully unrealistic to accomplish this [at the conference] in Rome." Nevertheless, a crime of "forced pregnancy" is included in the Statute (Article 7).
While "forced pregnancy" is circumscribed in the Statute so as not to impinge on national law, it still remains a fact that the term is a back-door recognition of a "right" to abortion, and there is no legal knot that cannot be undone by the right legal experts. This could be aided by a phrase "forcibly made pregnant" in the Elements of Crimes (an annexure to the Statute) in a way that suggests rape, rather than withholding of abortion.
Account must also be taken of the so-called complementarity clause, which could be used to bring national laws into line with the Statute. Conceivably, then, the term "forced pregnancy" could be forced onto the Irish statute book.
This would render any pro-life amendment either vulnerable, or impossible to draft.
It will be recalled that five of the last six UN reports on Ireland, condoned, supported, or promoted some aspect of abortion. The killing of the unborn child is not approved in any UN convention, yet this is the interpretation of various "experts".
A treaty for tyranny?
With "forced pregnancy", in certain circumstance, being made a crime, obviously anyone defending the right to life of the unborn child, could, without too much legal imagination, be prosecuted.
There are various other terms in the Statute which could be used, given the will, to prosecute those defending the family, eg, "causing serious …mental harm to members of [particular groups]. The term "crimes against humanity" is not seriously defined, and is potentially far reaching.
The Statute is capable of giving teeth to "soft law" norms, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, thus compelling their implementation. Further, should any such norms, for instance CEDAW, be declared to support a "right" to abortion, then the Court could compel the implementation of abortion. This is a different path to that described in the previous paragraph.
It must be borne in mind that the court will be prosecuting individuals, not countries, and that not all such individuals will necessarily be criminals as normally understood, but perhaps persons defending the vulnerable and proper moral values. The Court seems very much a "victims" court, with little scope for representation of the common good.
The unaccountable power of NGOs
In the UN treaty system, NGOs exercise a role in liaising with conventions committees and thus putting pressure on their own governments. There is a certain amount of merit in this where governments are unwilling to initiate necessary reform. But there is scope for abuse also by NGOs.. As matters stand, the relevant governments do not have to comply.
In that the ICC would have an enforceable judicial reach, this puts the relevant NGO, (eg, Amnesty International) in a position of considerable power to push forward its agenda. Yet NGOs are not accountable to the people. The recent incident involving full page advertising shows how far such organisations are willing to push their point of view.
Private funding means a private court
Under Article 44, the prosecutor may, in exceptional circumstances, accept gratis personnel.
This arrangement is a normal UN one. For instance, the High Commission for Human Rights receives some $30m of its $45m budget from non-UN sources. It is hard to see how the public can be assured that no private agenda is being served by this philanthropy. The resources of some foundations are substantial. For instance, the Ford Foundation alone (not necessarily a donor in the case of the HCHR) disburses some $600m per annum.
In a situation where the prosecutor has "proprio motu" (without reference to others) powers, these arrangements hold some appalling prospects.
Back to the drawing board
Ireland is the only country in Europe to have the privilege of being asked about this Statute. I would venture to suggest that we are only a handful of people around the world to have the benefit of such foresight of our forebears. We owe it to our children that we do not squander our inheritance. This undemocratic and agenda-laden Statute must be sent back to the drawing board.
We must vote NO to the International Criminal Court on its own merits.
A further reason for voting NO
Above and beyond these reasons for rejecting the ICC, there is one over-riding reason why we must say no.
There has been no pressing necessity for the Government to present this proposal in the time-frame and manner they have. Up to this moment, 12 days before referendum day, we have had no information and no debate on the subject, and there is no printed copy of the Statute available anywhere in the state.
The Government has treated the public with utter contempt. They must learn to have respect for the public, and the only way to get that across is to give them a resounding NO.
The Referendum Commission
A Referendum Commission has been set up with the objective of ensuring that the public is put in a position to make an informed decision.
The members of the Commission are all persons of high repute. They are:
Mr Justice Thomas Finlay, (chairman), former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
The Comptroller and Auditor General,
The Clerk of the Dail, and
The Clerk of the Seanad
As well as the lack of basic information on the full implications of the ICC from the Government, the public service broadcaster, RTE, has maintained virtually total silence on the ICC. The conditions for the discharge of the Commission's duty is clearly not present in the case of the ICC, (and probably not also in the case of the Nice Treaty), and it cannot now be achieved. The Commission is tacitly acknowledging that it is hampered. They have a responsibility which is impossible of achievement, but they are still continuing in office.
In the circumstances, we must ask if, in working on regardless, the Commission is working for the Government, rather than for the people, in giving a veneer of respectability and rectitude to the Government's disgraceful treatment of the public.
Accordingly, we call on the members of the Commission to do the honourable thing and step down.
Chairman, No to International Criminal Court Campaign 25 May 2001
Submissions on the ICC referendumClosing date for receipt of submissions was Tuesday, 22 May 2001, at 17:30.The Commission's Brochure:
For and Against arguments, on the basis of submissions revceived, were posted on the Commission's website on Tuesday, 29 May.
That gives 8 clear days to figure it all out!
18 Lr Leeson St, Dublin 2
Phone: 01 6395695
Fax: 01 6395684
email: email@example.comIntroduction:On or about 14 May, when an interview with the Commission's chairman was published, the Commission issued an undated brochure on the three referendums. It contains 4 A5 pages of text, ie 2 A4 pages.
According to an Irish Times report, the Chairman conceded that time constraints would impede the body's primary objectives, which were to try to inform the public and generate debate. He said that it would not be possible to send the brochure to every household, but that a "text-only self-mailing document" would be delivered by May 25th. The government, he said, was under no legal obligation to provide more time. "This curtails the capacity of the Commission greatly". He expressed the hope that there would be a good debate on the Nice Treaty.
The following are selected extracts from the Commission's brochure (emphasis added):
"The Referendum Commission is an independent body, set up by the Referendum Act, 1998. The Chairman of the Commission is Mr Justice Tom Finlay, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the other members oare the Clerk of the Dáil, the Clerk of the Seanad, the Ombudsman and the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Commission is independent in its actions, has its own budget and is supported by a secretariat from the Office of the Ombudsman.[Editor:
The members of the Commission are:
Mr Justice Tom Finlay, Chairman, Former Chief Justice.
The Comptroller and Auditor General,
The Clerk of the Dáil,
The Clerk of the Seanad.]
"The functions and powers of the Referendum Commission are set out in the Referendum Act, 1998. The primary role of the Commission is to explain the subject matter of the referendums to the population at large, as simply and effectively as possible, while ensuring that the arguments of those against the proposed amendments to the Constitution and those in favour are put forward in a manner that is fair to all interests concerned.
"An outline of the main arguments presented by both sides will also [sic] be produced, following a consultation process with people and organisations wishing to contribute to the debate. You will have to make up your own mind on the arguments for and against each of the three separate amendments and cast your vote accordingly."
The brochure gives the order of the three referendum proposals:
Information on the International Criminal Court only is being given here. Due to the loss of sovereignty involved, and its potential for social engineering, it is considered to be not any less important than the Treaty of Nice, and yet has received very little media coverage.
- Abolition of the Death Penalty
- Acceptance of the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
- The Treaty of Nice
"Acceptance of the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court:"It is proposed to add a new section to the Constitution to allow the State to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which was agreed at a United Nations conference in Rome in 1998. The statute provides for the establishment of an International Criminal Court, for serious crimes against humanity such as genocide and war crimes and other crimes of aggression. The Court would have power in the countries ratifying the Statute to arrest and try persons charged with such crimes and to impose upon them sentences of imprisonment or fines.
"In the past International Criminal Tribunals have been set up from time to time by the United Nations to deal with specific cases e.g. in relation to Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. The establishment of a permanent court would do away with the need for such temporary arrangements.
"Ratification of the Rome Statute by Ireland would appear to require an amendment of the Constitution because it would otherwise be inconsistent with the present provisions of the Constitution with regard to sovereignty and possibly also with regard to the trial of offences."
Under the heading "If you don't know - find out! - Further Information Sources", the brochure says "All media outlets will be covering the political debates on the referendum topics". It then states where copies of the Bills, and copies of the Constition may be obtained. "The Referenum Commission will be providing a range of information on the referendum proposals as well as the arguments for and against each proposal. These will be widely publicised. The text of the Treaty of Nice is being made available through the Referendum Commission's website."
The brochure next gives the address of non-party political groups in relation to the Treaty of Nice, ie, the European Movement - Ireland, and the National Platform.
End of selected extracts from the Referendum Commission's brochure.
Comment:29 May 2001
So, what do you think, good citizen?
In relation to the ICC alone, the nations took 5 weeks to hammer out the Rome Statute, and a further unspecified number of weeks to specify crimes and procedures (the annexures). It all comes to some 300 screen pages or about 50,000 words. No hard copy available in this country as at 23 May, and no information up to the same date.
With the aid of the Commission's "range of information" and "the arguments for and against", you're going to figure it all out in, perhaps, two week-ends. Then there's the Treaty of Nice, and the Death Penalty.
Would you buy a house in which you expected to live in for the rest of your life, with so little information and under such pressure of time?
Our further views will be added in the next week, if you're interested. Our suggestion will be that the Government would not treat the public with such contempt if (a) it didn't have the backing (or direction) of the media) and (b) the public didn't kept on voting for the same people, year in year out.
End of comment.
Report from Family Research Council (US)
In a report by Richard Wilkins and Kathyrn O. Balmforth on the International Criminal Court (ICC), the authors state that the ICC Statute, adopted by the governments of the international community in Rome in July 1998, represents
"a remarkable expansion of international power over sensitive moral quesions that sovereign states traditionally have addressed. Its approval signals a new era in which international insititutions successfully attempt to displace sovereign nations."
"This development imposes a substantial obligation on citizens who suport traditional values, including the value of self-government in nation states. The ICC threatens all of this."
The Report further points to movements within the UN system that hope to "reinterpret" basic human rights documents in order to create new "fundamental rigthts" such as abortion on demand and freedom from "discriminaiton based on sexual orientation", as well as condemning the "stereotype " of motherhood.
See Family Research Council website for full report.
9 May 2001
Signatories and Ratifications1. The Statute was adopted by fewer than one-third of the recognised nations of the earth at a conference at Rome in July 1998. It declares that it becomes operative for all nations - signatories or not - once it is ratified by a mere 60 nations, a highly debatable proposition.Comment:
2. The Statute was signed on behalf of the Government of Ireland on 7 October, 1998. The Ministers responsible were:Taoiseach: Deputy Bertie Ahern3. Neither the US, the Russian Federation, China, Japan nor India have ratified the Statute as at 30 April 2001. China, Japan or India have not taken the first step in signing the Statute.
Minister for Justice: Deputy John O'Donoghue
Minister for Foreign Affairs: Deputy David Andrews.
This Statute was agreed in July 1998, and it was signed on behalf of the Government in early October, little more than two months later, when the ink can hardly have been yet dry. Two major documents were yet to be written, ie the Rules of Procedure and the Elements of Crimes, which are far more than some fine print. They form an interpretive guide: the three documents must be read together. These documents were not agreed until 30 June 2000 (nearly two years later), and then only after some battles. Other discussions have continued into this year, 2001. The crime of "agression" is still not agreed at end April.
And are the three documents consistent with one another? (Is there a simple explanation, for instance, for the term "forced pregnancy" appearing in the Statute, and "enforced pregnancy" in the other two documents?) (This comment is now superceded: "forced pregnancy" is now in the annexures).
Even if the full implications of the Statute could be understood by the members of the Government in the course of the holiday months August and September, 1998, it is still clear that a blank cheque was signed.
Further, was the rush to signature so as to make it a fait accompli before the public could find out about it?
So, what was the rush then, and what is the rush now?
The public is still no wiser about this project, than they were in 1998.
4. The first to ratify were:
Senegal 2 Feb 99
Trinidad and Tobago 6 April 99
San Marino 13 May 99
Italy 26 July 99
Fiji 29 Nov 99 (Signed and ratified on the same day!*)
Ghana 20 Dec 99These are plucky little nations (plus one big one), given that the battles over procedures and definitions were not concluded until mid-2000.
A further 24 nations have also ratified as at 30 April 2001.
Andorra was the 30 th nation to ratify, which it did on 30 April 2001.
*A search of relevant Fiji sites showed references to co-operation in comabatting international crime, but no reference to the historic signature and ratification.
Details of signatories and ratifications:1. UN site
2. Coalition for the ICC: (contains fuller info on each country)Full list
3 May 2001
Protect our sovereignty, say No to ICC, says NEART
IN THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE, NEART urges a rejection of the ICC proposal being put to the people as one of the three referendums, to be held on 7 June 2001.
NEART acknowledges the absolute need to be able to deal adequately, and to bring to judgement, perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is concerned, however, that:
1. The international community has proved capable of dealing with such situations in the past.
2. The ICC claims to bind non-signatory states: self-determination is one of the cornerstones of the UN system of treaties, including the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
3. The range of crimes is potentially far-reaching, and the language in some cases is vague, and could lend itself to abuse.
4. In language that appears to protect national sovereignty, State parties will be obliged to bring domestic criminal laws into conformity with the ICC Statute. Failure to do so, could be met by the ICC taking jurisdiction under the "unwilling or unable to act" clause.
5. There is considerable potential for the ICC to become a court for global social engineering. On group at least, the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice (WCGJ), in its publication, "Putting the ICC on the Beijing+5 Agenda", has put the world on notice of this.
The ICC would bestow "hard law" status on - previously - "soft law" norms, such as the Beijing Platform for Action, and possibly other declarations.
The Women's Caucus has attempted, without success on this occasion, to use the ICC machinery to create a world-wide right to abortion.
6. The prosecutor's office can be staffed by volunteers and be paid for by advocacy groups. This would influence which interpretations of the Statute to advocate and whom to investigate.
The article was published in The Irish Catholicon 10 May.
See also Report by Wilkins and Balmforth of Family Research Council (US).
A national coalition of pro-women's rights, pro-family, and pro-life groupsfrom:
1. No one in this day and age could be in any doubt about the need to be able to deal adequately with the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. NEART agrees with the principle of having effective International arrangements for the prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes. The international community when necessary has proved capable of such prosecution under the auspices of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
2. NEART is very concerned however about the claimed jurisdiction and the content of the current proposal for an International Criminal Court (ICC) (also known as the Rome Statute) and about the current radical effort to introduce it. Once sixty countries ratify the ICC, it will, by its own terms, claim jurisdiction over every individual person on the planet, regardless of whether or not an individual government has ratified the Treaty which will bring the ICC into being.
3. The jurisdiction claimed by the ICC is unquestionably novel in that it makes a claim of international supremacy over the actions of domestic policy-makers. Inherent in this claim is the startling conclusion that the ICC, as an organ of international government, has the power to coerce and
command a (previously) sovereign state, regardless of that state¹s assent to the Treaty creating the Court. It has been standard law for centuries that "Treaties cannot create obligations for states who are not parties." By declaring the contrary, the ICC Statute ignores the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
4. The Statute, according to its own terms, is designed to be "complementary to national criminal jurisdictions." As such, we are informed that the Court is designed to take jurisdiction only when a nation is "unwilling or unable" to act.
This language appears to protect national sovereignty, but, while it sounds reassuring, the notion of "complementarity" is a legal shadow. Rather than
protecting national sovereignty and local democratic self-determination, the concept of "complementarity" operates much like an international supremacy clause. States parties will be required to review their domestic criminal laws and fill in the gaps to ensure that the crimes
enumerated in the ICC Statute are also prohibited domestically.
In other words, national law must mirror the terms and conditions of the ICC Statute, and ultimately - the judicial decisions of the ICC itself. Otherwise, a state will find its law being circumvented by the Court, which will take jurisdiction because that state will be found to be"unwilling or unable" to act.
The ICC¹s expansive jurisdiction seriously endangers the right of the people residing in nation-states throughout the world to govern and order their own affairs and to respect and/or alter their own cultural and religious traditions. This threat to national self-determination should not be dismissed lightly.
5. One of NEART¹s major concerns is the potential of the ICC to become a court for global social engineering. The elastic terms of the ICC Statute suggest that the Court rather than occupying itself solely with genocide, mass - murder and other similarly heinous acts may become the ultimate forum for the resolution of delicate questions of social policy.
6. The Women¹s Caucus for Gender Justice in their publication "Putting the ICC on the Beijing +5 Agenda" have put the world on notice of this. They state that implementation of the ICC Statute will provide an opportunity for groups "all over the world to initiate and consolidate law reforms . . .."
Indeed, the gender Caucus asserts that "it is this aspect of the Court the possibility of national law reform which may present the most far-reaching potential" for change "in the long run." The gender Caucus have succeeded in defining vague and ambiguous crimes, which could easily be turned against government officials promoting traditional laws concerning marriage and the family. Religious leaders who emphasise the childbearing role of women, or who speak out against issues such as abortion or union between same sex couples could also be targeted.
7. Of equal concern are the potentially far-reaching "crimes against humanity" set out in Article 7, but the ICC Statute gives very little guidance as to what these actually proscribe. For example, the crime of "persecution", as set out in the Statute and as further refined in the recently issued "Elements of Crimes", condemns the "severe deprivation" of a group¹s "fundamental rights", The crime of "inhumane acts" criminalizes the infliction of "great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health, by means of an inhumane act." At present, it is impossible to say definitively what these terms actually mean. But, the arguments of some proponents for the Court suggest that their reach will be far broader than a quick reading of the ICC Statute might suggest.
8. In Rome, the Women¹s Caucus for Gender Justice attempted to use the ICC¹s judicial machinery to create a world - wide right to abortion. It did so by inserting the previously unknown crime of "forced pregnancy" into the Statute. The premise of this crime was straightforward: if a woman became pregnant and was unable to terminate the pregnancy because national law prohibited or regulated access to abortion, the woman would be considered as being unlawfully "forced" to be pregnant.
Because of its novelty and obviously far-reaching impact, the issue of "forced" pregnancy became one of the most contentious at the entire Rome conference. And, although the Caucus¹ effort to obtain global abortion on demand ultimately failed, the very attempt makes clear that the ICC
Statute can be used not just to prosecute criminals but to create social policy.
9. During the past decade, the United Nations has negotiated numerous "platforms", "agendas" and "declarations" setting out aspirational goals for Member States in virtually every area of human life. The Women¹s Caucus for Gender Justice unquestionably intends to use the International Criminal Court to enforce these - previously - "soft law" norms. As the Caucus¹ booklet explains, "the creation of the world¹s first permanent Criminal Court" provides "an opportunity to codify as international law . . . many of the strategic objectives outlined and committed to by Governments in the [Beijing] Platform for Action."
The ICC, in short, could transform previously unenforceable (and often broadly worded) norms into indictable criminal conduct. In the Caucus¹ view, the ICC is not merely (or even primarily) a court to deal with the "most serious crimes of international concern". Rather, the ICC is an institution
with which to achieve "many of the commitments in the [Beijing] Platform for Action as well as a mechanism through which to achieve others."
Therefore, if the gender Caucus is to be taken at its word, the ICC Statute can (and will) be used to re-engineer social policies throughout the world.
10. NEART is concerned that under the current proposals, the ICC will be a hybrid, containing both criminal and civil aspects, in which "victims" of vaguely defined "gender crimes" (i.e. article 147h gender - related persecution) can intervene as parties, have lawyers paid for by the Court, and claim damages.
11. Furthermore, the prosecutor¹s office can be staffed by volunteers and be paid for by advocacy groups. The prosecutors can within very lenient limits decide which interpretations of the Statute to advocate and whom to investigate.
12. NEART points out that the ICC is being structured to provide a forum for global civil rights actions, in which radical re - interpretations of UN human rights documents can be forced on individuals and governments under threats of imprisonment and huge monetary penalties for non - compliance.
13. NEART asserts that the sole reason why this Treaty is being put to the people in a referendum is because it is contrary to articles 1, 5, 29, 34, 38, and 40 of the Irish Constitution. These articles define and defend Ireland's hard-won independence, and its commitment to democratic values.
We must vote NO to the ICC to protect our sovereignty.
25 April 2001
Bills to amend the Constitution
1. The Government Bill1. The Government Bill
1.1 Ministers policy statement/explanatory memorandum
2. Deputy Jim O'Keeffe's Bill
3. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó'Caoláin's Bill
4. Links to Govt website: the Bill, Dail debates & Statement
The "Twenty-third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2001" was presented by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on 27 March 2001. The following are extracts: (Emphasis added)
1.- Article 29 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:
(a) the section the text of which is set out in Part 1 of the Schedule to this Act shall be inserted after section 8 of the Irish text,
(b) the section the text of which is set out in Part 2 of the Schedule to this Act shall be inserted after section 8 of the English text.
9 Tig leis an Stát Reacht na Róimhe den Chúirt Choiriúil Idirnáisiúnta, a rinneadh sa Róimhe an 17ú lá d'Iúil, 1998, a dhainghiú.
9 The State may ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court done at Rome on the 17the day of July, 1998.
End of extracts from Bill
1.1 Minister's policy statement/explanatory memorandum
Government statementc 7 May (Dept Foreign Affairs website)
The Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Bill includes the following: (emphasis added)
"The Statute provides for the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court, in relationship with the United Nations system, with jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The Court, when established, will be complementary to nation criminal jurisdictions.
The EU has undertaken to assist countries associated with it to ratify or accede to the Statute in order to facilitate the early establishment of the Court."
End of comment
In the light of the ambitions of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice, and their view of the ICC ("a useful tool", "The ICC and the Platform for Action are powerful tools for women and both processes depend on and stand to benefit from the other."), this is less than the whole truth, whatever one's views of the WCGJ's intentions.
Those who are enthusiastic about the ICC, would seem to have a much wider agenda than dealing with what would be generally understood as war and war related crimes.
NEART describes the complementarity as a "legal shadow". It is worse than that: in effect, it is the opposite of what one would expect, ie supremacy of the ICC code.
£££'s for somebody! Is this what it's all about?
The government statement is not any more helpful. There is still no explanation for the inclusion of "forced pregnancy" in the Statute, or how the Statute might be used, in the words of the Women's Caucus, "as a means of furthering the Beijing agenda". The Women's Caucus was congratulated by Mary Robinson for managing to "ensure that rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy and other forms of gender-based and sexual violence are included in the statute of the ICC."
17 May 2001
2. Deputy Jim O'Keeffe's Bill (No 7 of 2001)
Deputy O'Keeffe's Bill, dated 1 March 2001, (Explanatory Memorandum)
is similar to the Government Bill, but with the following addition to the Government's proposal:
9 2 No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State which are necessitated by the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
3. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó'Caoláin's Bill (No 24 of 2001)
Deputy O'Caoláin's Bill, dated 5 April, 2001, seeks to amend Article 29.2 of the Constitution, by the addition of the following:
Chun na críche sin, cloífidh an Stát, go sonrach, le beartas gan a bheith ina bhall de chomhghuaillíochtaí míleata.
To this end the State shall, in particular, maintain a policy of non-membership of military alliances.
End of extracts
No Explanatory Memorandum accompanied Deputy Ó'Caoláin's Bill.
4. Links to Govt website: the Bill, Dail debates, and Statement
1. General, (for Bill)
2. Dail debate 11 April 2001 (order for second Stage+Second Stage, sessions 1, 2 & 3.
3. Dail debate 12 April 2001:
Comment: A lengthy enough debate, considering that everybody is in agreement! (Consensus politics in action). Much of the debate centres on Jim O'Keeffe's (FG) amendment. This was put forward because he wanted to be sure that no Consitutional impediment would stand in the way of the ICC!
4. Bill + explanatory memorandum:
5. Statement of Min for Foreign Affairs to the General Assembly of the UN 14 Sept 2000
Comment: The only current info on the ICC on the Dept of Foreign Affairs website. (7 May)End
7 May 2001
6. Statement of Minister for Foreign Affairs 10 May 2001 (Link to be completed)
10 May 2001
About the documents
There are a number of documents on the UN website, the more important of which appear to be:
1. The text of the Statute ("Statute of Rome", agreed 28 July 1998). (c250 screen pages).
2. Rules of Procedure and Evidence, (100 screen pages).
3. Elements of Crimes, (48 screen pages)
4. ?Manual for ratification and implementation
The first three items can be downloaded without difficulty from the UN website. The fourth item, believed to have been issued early in 2001, was not found.
Getting hard-copy is, however, another matter. In regard to the Statute (item 1 above) IMR has been informed that it is not available from the Government Publications Sales Office, or, as at 27 April, elsewhere in Ireland. The Dept of Foreign Affairs referred IMR to a London bookseller, but, after three phone calls, it was established that they do not stock the item, and though helpful, were not particularly aware of its existence. The next place to try is the UN High Commission for Human Rights, Palais Wilson, Geneva.
1 May 2001
A national coalition of pro-women's rights, pro-family, and pro-life groups
The International Criminal Court (ICC)
A court for war crimes?
It is easy to agree with the basic principle of a court set up to try war crimes and crimes of genocide.
However, what is being put before us goes well beyond those laudable aims. What is being sought is the handing over of authority for trying "gender-related crimes" to an international and unaccountable apparatus. Such a court would have the power to override our legislature in significant social policy areas. It is a tool for global social engineering.
War criminals have in the past been satisfactorily prosecuted by special international courts established for the purpose. There is no reason why the same arrangements cannot be used again in the future.
What kind of Nation are we going to hand on to our children?
If we say "Yes" to the two proposals, the Nice Treaty and the ICC, what will we have to say to our children in the future. How can we tell them that we freely signed away their birthright for the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver? And that we did so in the name of bogus human rights?
How could we admit to them that we did not demur at the formation of an international criminal court bent on global social engineering policies rather than dealing with international war criminals. These policies include the degrading of motherhood, and the undermining of the family.
Freedom of speech and even the freedom to write articles, which are critical of the status quo, will be under threat if we accept the ICC. Freedom to practice our religion and freedom to demonstrate or process in large numbers are already under threat. How can we look our children in the eye and tell them that the reason for their servitude and their lack of civil liberties was our inability to protect them from the new global international humanistic agenda which is currently being carefully put in place.
It would be shameful if history recorded that, after 800 years of servitude, Ireland enjoyed a brief period of independence from 1921 to 2001, a mere 80 years.
Ireland as a nation must vote NO to both the Treaty of Nice and the International Criminal Court, if we are to retain any vestige of the sovereignty for which we have laboured so long and so painfully.
26 March 2001
WOMEN'S CAUCUS FOR GENDER JUSTICE
Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, March 8, 2000 on the occasion of the International Women's Day:
"At this juncture I would like to pay tribute to the women of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice who have taken the experiences of women in war, identified strategies for dealing with violations and, overcoming intense opposition from many representatives at the International Criminal
Court negotiations, managed to ensure that rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy and other forms of gender-based and sexual violence are included in the statute of the ICC."
Women's Caucus for Gender Justice:
Address: PO Box 3541 Grand Central Post Office New York, NY 10163, USA
See also website of Coalition for an International Criminal Court
9 May 2001
CLINTON SIGNS ICC TREATY, HANDCUFFING HIS PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSORS
A Report from C-Fam (US)
With only eight hours to go before the midnight deadline on New Year’s Eve, representatives of President Bill Clinton met with UN officials on the 32nd floor of UN headquarters in New York and signed the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court. The US thus became the
139th country to sign a document to establish a permanent criminal tribunal.
While signing the treaty, President Clinton said he was not forwarding the treaty to the US Senate for ratification and was urging his successor George W. Bush also to withhold the document for approval. He said he signed the document so that the US could maintain its negotiating position while the document is finalized in the weeks ahead. And also so that the US could participate in future deliberations of the Assembly of States Parties which the treaty will bring into existence.
Sources within the US State Department, speaking on conditions of anonymity, contest President Clinton’s claims. They insist the US can now and will always be able to participate in court action. Because the ICC document is being negotiated in a series of preparatory committee meetings within the General Assembly, any member of the GA can participate, even those who never sign the treaty. They also point out that as a signatory to the 1998 Rome conference that initiated the ICC process, the US is
guaranteed a seat at the court as an observer, even if the US never ratifies the treaty.
The State Department sources point out the real effect of President Clinton signing the document is to handcuff incoming President George Bush and all future presidents. Under the 1969 Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, a signatory to a treaty should do nothing that is inconsistent with the “object and purpose of the treaty.” If incoming president George W. Bush, or any future president, decides to attempt to prevent the controversial court from coming into existence, the US would be in violation of the Vienna Convention.
It is well known that large numbers of the US Senate oppose the treaty, especially Senator Jesse Helms, the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Opposition also comes from the US military. Unwilling to cross swords with the Pentagon, early on President Clinton ceded negotiations of the treaty to high-ranking members of the US armed services working in the Pentagon. Their strategy from the beginning was to negotiate the best treaty possible and then urge the Senate to kill it.
The treaty is on the fast track to full implementation. An aggressive NGO campaign has generated 27 ratifications already, leaving only 33 before the court is born. Even so, the court is not widely loved. Even usually liberal France, no doubt fearing prosecution for actions in Africa, is nervous about the ICC. During negotiations over the past two years, its negotiators frequently offered and accepted what many perceived as the most radical ideas for the court, including the elimination of the privilege that allows the matter of sacramental confession to remain secret. Other negotiators believe the French wanted the most radical document possible so the new court would be discredited from the very beginning.
Copyright – C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
January 5, 2001
Volume 4, Number 3
Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 4038
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.c-fam.org
Ireland's National Sovereignty at stake
1. The Nice Treaty
2. The International Criminal Court (ICC)
With regard to the ICC, it is easy to agree with the basic principle of a court set up to try war crimes and crimes of genocide.
However what is being put before us goes well beyond those laudable aims. What is being sought is the handing over of authority for trying "gender-related crimes" to an international and unaccountable apparatus. Such a court would have the power to override our legislature in significant social policy areas. It is a tool for global social engineering.
"NO" is the only answer to give to the ICC proposal.
Thanks to our Constitution, and those who have defended it in the past, we, alone amongst the peoples of Europe, have the right to be consulted on this treaty.
If we say "Yes" to these two proposals, the Nice Treaty and the ICC, what will we have to say to our children in the future?
Ireland must vote NO.
(No comment is being offered on the other two referendum issues at this stage)
6 April 2001