Why Iraq should join the ICC

ISIS militants in Iraq. © Telegraph

ISIS militants in Iraq. © Telegraph

Two months of alleged human rights violations against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq has prompted Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) to call on the Iraqi government to join the ICC.

Extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is allegedly responsible for the deaths of over 2,000 people since June and has reportedly enslaved 300 women of the minority Yazidi ethnic group, in addition to displacing thousands of Yazidis.

Ross Robertson, PGA president and New Zealand MP:

“Attacks directed against civilian populations because of their ethnic or political background, religion or belief, may constitute a crime against humanity, and certain acts if committed with the intent to destroy, may constitute genocide. The perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice.”

PGA has also called on the Iraqi government to immediately accept ICC jurisdiction using special mechanism under the Rome Statute—article 12(3)—to act as a deterrent against further crimes.

Other Coalition members, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights, have also condemned mass atrocities and calling for justice and humanitarian aid.

The UN Security Council similarly condemned the “indiscriminate killing and deliberate targeting of civilians, numerous atrocities, mass executions and extrajudicial killings, including of soldiers, persecution of individuals and entire communities on the basis of their religion or belief, kidnapping of civilians, forced displacement of members of minority groups, killing and maiming of children, recruitment and use of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary detention, attacks on schools and hospitals, destruction of cultural and religious sites and obstructing the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to education” in Iraq.

Meanwhile, a group of religious leaders called on the British government to work towards a Security Council resolution referring the situation to the ICC.

Blogger and ICC researcher Mark Kersten noted that if the situation is referred to the Court, Security Council members would likely restrict the referral to recent events in northern Iraq to ensure that crimes allegedly committed by Western forces during the 2003 Iraq War and the subsequent occupation of the country are beyond the Court’s jurisdiction.

Iraq is already the subject of a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor, but that inquiry is limited to the actions of British military forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2008. While the ICC lacks jurisdiction in Iraq, it has jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed by British nationals in Iraq because the United Kingdom is an ICC member state.

The Iraqi government has taken steps to join the ICC before.

In February 2005, the Iraqi interim government announced its decision to accede to the ICC Rome Statute, but withdrew its accession two weeks later without explanation.

The Coalition called on Iraq to join the ICC as part of its Campaign for Global Justice in December 2013.

Have your say – do you think the ICC should intervene in Iraq?

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3 Responses to Why Iraq should join the ICC

  1. Reblogged this on ED-PHIL GLOBAL and commented:
    Attributable to Nigeria?

  2. Blake MacLeod says:

    Accession to the ICC is a direct challenge to the authority of NATO countries, especially the US, and in some cases to that of Russia and China. The ICC itself represents one thin edge of several wedges the human community is presently attempting to drive between the 5 permanent members and the iron grip they have over the United Nations.

    International justice is difficult work, and the rapid rise in influence of this independent, international court and the fact of 2/3 of the world’s nations having already ratified the treaty and acceded to accept the court’s authority is a clear indication of the the need. The elephant in the room, is that the threat that member nations are looking to be protected from is from the 5 permanent members, and the pattern of violence, interference and aggression against and within the sovereign territory of weaker nations is evidence enough that fears are well founded.

  3. Pingback: Calls for Arab states to join the ICC emerge from Human Rights Council |

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