Liberal Democrats call for strengthened International Criminal Court

September 12, 2008 3:07 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference today backed plans to extend and strengthen the role of the International Criminal Court in bringing to account heads of government who persecute civilian populations.

The Liberal Democrats called on the UK Government to: Propose that the ICC works on behalf of the UN Security Council to hold heads of government to account should they persecute their own populations Help fund and resource the ICC, along with other UN members, to help it carry out its new functions

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, Edward Davey said:

"No leader, from any country, can be allowed to act against their people with impunity.

"By empowering the ICC with this new, strengthened role, we can send a clear message to the Burmese generals and the Mugabes of this world: no-one should be above or beyond the law.

"It is now up to the British Government to stand up for international justice and push for a fully-recognised ICC.

"The British Government needs to put pressure on the next President of the United States to sign his country up to the ICC, and remove this major stumbling block to bringing it fully under the umbrella of the UN Security Council."

The full text of the motion is below:

Conference recalls:

A. The role played by the International Criminal Court in holding some rogue heads of

government and their associates to account for persecuting their populations, or sections of their population, as in Bosnia.

B. The place of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in outlining the rights that all humanity should expect to be guaranteed by their own and other governments.

Conference notes with regret that:

i) A number of countries, including the United States of America, have not signed up to the International Criminal Court.

ii) Not all members of the UN Security Council recognise the ICC, and it thus lacks an effective implementation arm to bring rogue leaders to justice with the full weight of the Security Council and the United Nations.

Conference believes that:

a) If the ICC was given both full UN recognition and an implementation arm, it would be able to hold rogue heads of government and their associates to account for the persecution of their populations, or sections of their populations, both where this has occurred or is currently it occurring; such powers would not only help stop mistreatment of civilian populations, but also help to deter and prevent such mistreatment in the future and deny the use of the excuse of 'non -interference in internal affairs'.

b) There is a serious need for the peoples of all countries to have such protection from their own governments, as has been demonstrated recently by the suppression of democracy in Burma and Zimbabwe.

c) Had full UN recognition and empowerment of the ICC existed in the past, this could have led rogue heads of government and their associates to consider the consequences of their actions for themselves personally.

d) The existence of a UN ICC holding such powers will promote peace and security by bringing individuals to justice rather than by necessitating the invasion of whole countries, as exemplified by the debacle in Iraq.

Conference calls for the UK Government:

1. To propose to the United Nations General Assembly a new international role for the ICC, in which it acts on behalf of the UN Security Council to help protect the human rights of all people, by holding currently serving heads of government and their associates to account for their actions, should they persecute their own populations and infringe on their human rights, as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2. To help fund and resource, with other UN nations, the ICC to enable it to carry out its new responsibilities.