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>> The Yemen Times


YEMEN TO RATIFY INTERNATIONAL COURT

Sources close to the government have revealed that Yemen is close to ratifying the International Criminal Court (ICC), and could be the third Arab country after Jordan and Djibouti to do so. This comes in light of the massive campaign launched during the last two weeks starting from the day when the Inter-Governmental Regional Conference on Human Rights, Democracy and the ICC started on January 10. Ever since then, Yemen has witnessed intensive campaigns calling for the ratification of the Rome Statute of ICC, which was enacted in July, 2002. So far, 92 countries worldwide have ratified the statute. Several workshops and gatherings were arranged in Sana’a during the last two weeks in an effort to encourage the Yemeni and other Arab governments to ratify the statue. There are neither political nor constitutional reasons for Yemen not to ratify the statue, but the slow process is mainly due to tedious bureaucratic procedures and limited civil society involvement in promoting the ratification. Despite the fact that the USA has not ratified the ICC, analysts believe that it has no intention to pressure Yemen not to go ahead and ratify it. Yemen’s Foreign Minister Dr Abu Bakr Al Qirbi confirmed this expectation, and said that the ratification of the statue is currently being discussed, and it does not seem to contradict the Yemeni constitution concerning national sovereignty. “Yemen was supposed to have ratified the statute by the end of 2003,” he said. Meanwhile, Dr. Abdulkareem Al-Iryani, the political advisor of President Saleh and secretary general of the ruling party, supported the idea of joining the group of countries that have ratified the status and added that efforts should be exerted to bring about an “effective role of the ICC and transfer what is going on in Palestine and Iraq to it.” Al-Iryani also called upon all political parties during the last conference in Sanaa to spread awareness among their members of the important role of the ICC in stopping violations of human rights and crimes against humanity everywhere in the world. The Yemeni parliament is overwhelmingly in favor of the ICC, and its speaker Sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmar, who attended the opening session of the parliaemnty workshop on ICC, said that the parliament “will ratify the Rome Statute during the next few days.” Al-Ahmar expressed his hopes in that the more countries that ratify this statute, the higher the chances for bringing war criminals and others to justice. Opposition parties welcomed the idea of ratifying the international tribunal and have expressed their hopes in that the government would boost its efforts to help bringing international justice to the oppressed and those living under occupation in the Arab world and elsewhere. However, some opposition figures have expressed some concern over whether the ICC will be truly effective and independent. Public opinion is also in favor of ratification of the ICC for its expected role in bringing justice to Palestinians and Iraqis currently living under foreign occupation.





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