Joan Veon, Journalist

The Women's International Media Group, Inc.


Convener - William Pace, World Federalists

Missed question because tape turnover over.

Our organizations have made clear that there are certain fundamental principles which must be reflected in the court if that court is going to be effective. If those fundamental principles are not reflected in the court Statute, it will be unacceptable to us and to the international community, unacceptable to national parliaments. One example: we have -- all of us have called for inherent jurisdiction over all three core crimes. It would be unacceptable if there were any dissolution of that principle to permit opting in, opting out, ala cart jurisdiction of any sort, state consent after ratification, any other protocols, any other kind of international instrument to get out from under this principle.

Jalea -

the political stakes are very high and we are aware of the pressure being exerted by the U.S. and other countries which will bite the lowest common denominator. If you have a court as Richard said, any country could veto simply by preventing a suspect of its nationality from being brought before it. That is the lowest common denominator courts as far as we are concerned. The question is if the court can live without the United States.

I would say resoundingly yes. I don't think the NGO community will say otherwise. We have had very strong support for all of the percentages that you are aware of for our key positions: Internal conflict, independent prosecutor, automatic jurisdiction. The debates last week and last night confirm that and we have no reason to think that without one country we cannot go forward. the like minded group which is now some 59 countries and affiliated countries which now numbers over 80, is a group that regionally very well balanced, has countries from all over the world--has Australia, Western Europe, Canada, New Zealand, financial and human resources to create a court that we can go ahead with. it can create a court that the US and other countries can join when they are good and ready. They appear not to be ready now. The sooner countries come to this fact the better it will be for all of us.

Human Rights Watch: I think what we have seen is a crash course in superpower real-politic. There has been arm twisting, there has been brass knuckles used here and in capitals around the world. the question I pose is WHY? In fact the government that is responsible for that sees very clearly the potential for a viable court to emerge from this process leaving Washington as it was in the land mines campaign standing on the platform at the station. For the world's superpower that prides itself and professes a commitment to the rule of law to be left like that is a real set back. I think that is the explanation for the set backs. The stakes are high.

what are we doing? I want to put on the table what we are doing and all of us as organizations have been working very close together. Right now there is a deal afoot being orchestrated by France and the United States to gut the courts the power to prosecute war crimes. They are proposing a protocol that would be annexed to the statute that states could sign after they had signed the Statute that would allow them to opt out of any responsibility to this court for war-crimes. That is a photo-opportunity court for states. They sign and opt out of responsibilities. that is being cooked up by France and the U.S. we want this on the table and in light of the over-whelming majority for support over war crimes we are going to lobby against over the next couple of days to prevent this last-ditch desperation tactic from being part of this statute.

Another voice: We have a number of teams of our members which are also doing bi-lateral with countries and which are attempted to go with any court as a result of this conference. We can accept that if it falls below, we can't work for ratification which will condemn this court and treaty process. It will be a much worse for many of the countries if they adopt something in Rome and it never comes into force. That is a strategy of the minimalists .

We are having our own bi-laterals and talking to parliamentarians in capitals. We aren't quite the super-power arm twisting but we do have the moral picture on our side so that if international democracy and rule of law are allowed to operate at this international level on these three terrible crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.


Answer: We will have to see what emerges -- either tonight or tomorrow morning in what we expect as a package and we will have to try and resolve all remaining issues. I cannot see how a court that does not have jurisdiction over those three core crimes--could ever be effective. As far as the total number of votes, probably on the proposal as a whole but I think that what we saw last week and yesterday is overwhelming support by the participants....

The 81 countries are not all Western countries they are Latin American and other who are supporting. The people who are restraining this court is a member of western delegations--US and France. The situation is extremely ironic here to think that these democracies are pushing the rest of the world backwards. This is done to preserve national interest rather than international justice. It is the small countries with very little resources - - vulnerable countries who are standing up.


If the proposal tomorrow is terrible, after opposing it, my countries orders might be to support it. Then there are those small countries who want a signal from the U.S. that they can go forward on this without retribution. do I have all of the hard evidence of this? No. I have all of the circumstantial evidence.

Comment: Pressure on small countries - which are these countries? these are many countries that have made transitions from dictatorial regimes to democracies, to respect for human rights in the last period of time. Countries which are trying to inscribe the rule of law in their own lands. countries that see an effective court as a valuable deferent and protection for them and their people against either the return of a military regime or coup of an abusive government and it is in that context of small countries in Southern Africa, Latin Am. and Asia, standing up and going against a great deal of is in that context that you would have to say the U.S. tactics have fallen to a new low in human rights policies.

JV: I am frankly very surprised at the Clinton Administration , if I can call it the Clinton administration versus the U.S. government is holding up the International Criminal Court because Pres. Clinton has done more to advance human rights, international law and international global governance than any other president that the U.S. has had. I am really quite surprised at this development. My questions is, the establishment of the ICC does advance international global governance. Can you tell me what kind of setback international global governance will have if this does not established the way that you envision it?

Jalena: Friends of the U.S. would like to see a court which is governed by the Security council and they could live with a court that got cases exclusively from the Council and whose operation the S/C could veto. they would certainly consider that a furtherance of good governance but our idea doesn't coincide with that obviously. We do not accept the proposition that the court should be activated only by the Security Council or States for that matter because both are political entities we feel will be paralyzed from bringing cases before the court. We have had plenty examples of that. The bottom line is SELECTIVE JUSTICE AND THAT IS WHAT WE ARE AGAINST. Which is why one of the points we have been mentioning to governments over the past few days is that the COURT MUST HAVE AN INDEPENDENT PROSECUTOR. I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF AT SOME POINT HAVING IN THE BALANCE WE STILL HAVE THIS ISSUE JUST AS TRADE OFFS MIGHT BE MADE WITHIN THE NEXT 72 HOURS TO COME BETWEEN INTERNAL CONFLICT OR THE LIST OF CRIMES IN INTERNAL CONFLICT AND AUTOMATIC JURISDICTION. THIS COURT HAS TO APPLY AN EQUAL STANDARD OF JUSTICE FOR ALL. THE U.S. CONCERN WHICH IS BEING DRIVEN AND FRENCH CONCERN , PRIMARILY BY THE DEFENSE MINISERIES WOULD CREATE A DOUBLE STANDARD FOR AMERICAN/FRENCH CITIZENS AND FOR EVERYONE ELSE AND THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE TO AVOID. IF THEY MANAGE TO CREATE THAT STANDARD YOU WOULD HAVE VERY CRIMINAL IN THE WORLD GOING THROUGH THE SAME LOOPHOLE. THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE TO PREVENT.

Bill Pace:

The other part, this is indeed part of a constellation of institutions which are being developed some faster than others in the post-cold war period. we are talking about :

--Good offices of the secretary-general

--The Agenda for Peace of the UN which is one of the most important programs in the last

10 years

--early warning

--preventative diplomacy

--quicker response/rapid deploy-able response mechanism to deal with global humanitarian


--smarter use of sanctions

--fairer reform of both the council and its procedures.

So it is part of a constellation of efforts to improve governance at the international level but the set-back is a set back in the needless loss of millions of lives, the sexual violence, rapes, the murders of children which are going to occur if this Court isn't concluded this week and there are some very powerful countries on whose hands that blood will rest.

Comment: The drama here is that the result hangs in the balance. We don't know and I don't think Kirsch or Ambassador David Scheffer knows and it's a fight and its really in the balance. What happens over the next two days is critical. We are at the junction where the decisions will be made and we have some cards to play and the 60+ governments have some cards to play and we will all be playing our cards to win and the way the U.S. government and lesser extent, France, have invoked bully-boy tactics is a reflection on their part of the danger they see of the negotiations going in a direction they cannot control.

Pat Carlson:

This conference is not being talked about back home--most of you are U.S. and the U.S. is the problem and you have lobbied on the international level - have you lobbied in Congress--do you have a feel where the private citizen is in this?

Bill Pace: I am American, Richard and Jalena and other groups they can answer the question.

Jalena: This has not garnered great public interest in the U.S. The political realities are what they are. The U.S. negotiating team is being carefully monitored by Helms. Will the U.S. government take the right position on a good issue which is the international criminal court.