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YEMEN LIKELY TO RATIFY WORLD COURT STATUTE

By Nasser Arrabyee Yemen is likely to be the third Arab country to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, ICC after Jordan and Djibouti. Over the last two weeks, Yemen witnessed intensive campaigns calling for the ratification of the Rome Statute of ICC, which entered into force in 1 July, 2002. So far, 92 countries have ratified the statute. It seems that there are no political nor constitutional reasons for Yemen not to ratify but retardation of the process is mainly due to tedious bureaucratic procedures and limited civil society involvement in promoting the ratification. However, Dr Abu Bakr Al Querbi, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Committee for the International Law Affairs said: "The committee in charge of studying the conformity and inconsistency of the Statute with the Yemeni constitution had clarified that the Rome Statute is not substantially inconsistent with the constitution with regard to the national sovereignty, and Yemen was supposed to have ratified the Statute by the end of 2003." Speaker of Parliament, Shiekh Abdullah bin Hussein AlAhmer attended the opening session of the parliamentary workshop on ICC, which was organised by the Constitutional Affairs Committee in Parliament in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross on 19-20 January. "The House of Representatives will ratify the Rome Statute during the next few days," Al Ahmer said pointing out the importance of creation of such a court in the light of violations of human rights in Palestine and Iraq. The creation of an international, effective and independent court concer-ned with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes has been imposed by the international chan-ges and circumstances. On his part, Dr Abdul Kareem AlIryani, political advisor of President Saleh and secretary general of the ruling party, said: "We have to seek an effective role of the ICC and transfer what is going on in Palestine and Iraq to it." He called all the political parties to spread awareness among their members of the important role of the ICC in stopping violations of human rights and crimes against humanity. No Yemeni opposition against the ICC, neither from governmental nor from non-governmental organisations or political parties, can be heard during discussions of the ratification except for some concerns over whether the ICC will be really effective and independent. Abdul Wahab Mahmoud, Vice Speaker of Parliament, asked whether the ICC would be able to work with one-standard policy with respect to the weak and the strong people and countries. "We support the ratification, but we have do-ubts because of our experience with the other international agencies that ad-opt a double-standard policy."





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