Campaign to defend Rome Statute launched at workshop for LAC parliamentarians

Civil society and government participants at the summit on the Rome Statute in Montevideo, Uruguay. © DEPARTAMENTO DE FOTOGRAFÍA DEL PARLAMENTO DEL URUGUAY

Late last month at a workshop attended by 20 members of parliament from across Latin America, Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) launched a campaign to defend the integrity of the Rome Statute.

The campaign asks Latin American MPs to request that their governments make public their positions on the Kenyan government’s proposed amendment to Article 27 of the Rome Statute. The amendment would exempt “serving heads of state, their deputies and anybody acting or is entitled to act as such” from prosecution by the ICC.

MPs participating in the campaign are also asked to support a declaration providing sitting heads of state and government with immunity from prosecution for international crimes.

The workshop, which was hosted in Montevideo, Uruguay by the Chamber of Representatives of the Uruguayan Parliament, was organized by the Parliament of Uruguay and PGA, with the support of the Coalition for the ICC and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The aim of the workshop was to share practical experiences among lawmakers concerning the incorporation of the Rome Statute into domestic law, and also covered challenges with regards to cooperation with the ICC and the current status of the ratification of the Kampala amendments, as well as the role of victims within national judicial systems.

Topics of discussion included:

  • Challenges faced by the international community regarding war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime against aggression;
  • The contribution of the Rome Statute to the strengthening of the national legal systems and the fight against impunity and the participation of victims in the legal proceedings; and
  • Challenges of the international community in connection to the ‘no immunity’ of heads of state and government and the Latin American commitment against impunity

The Coalition’s regional coordinator for the Americas, Michelle Reyes Milk, gave a presentation on passing legislation allowing for greater cooperation with the ICC and participation in the Rome Statute system.

This is the second year that the Parliament of Uruguay has hosted this workshop, in recognition of Uruguay’s leadership on international justice issues in the region. Uruguay has passed complete legislation incorporating the Rome Statute into its domestic law and is, to date, the only Latin American country to have ratified the Kampala amendments.

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