propecia yahoo answers

Home » Home » Ambassador Sacirbey – How Bosnia Helped ICC

Ambassador Sacirbey – How Bosnia Helped ICC

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey first permanent representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations in New York (Courtesy photo for education only)

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey first permanent representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations in New York (Courtesy photo for education only)

By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey  – The “gender based crime” provisions of the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court went beyond punishing perpetrators to arming the rule of law to deliver justice by empowering women/girls to move beyond being projected solely as victims. Such empowerment was perhaps the most forward arching accomplishment enshrined within the Rome Statute in 1998 and established much of the foundation for women/girls moving to achieve recognition of broader rights in peace and war. Having just been the site of not only the raw crimes but their systematic perpetration, as “mass rape camps” and “enforced pregnancy”, Bosnia & Herzegovina had the experience and standing to press for the adoption of such codes in 1998. The reality of the conflict in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) presented a more profound challenge to a world previously defining conflict primarily through male eyes. There was a new recognition that our female citizens were not merely coincidental casualties, the collateral damage, in wars fought on battlefields by armed men and boys. Rather, they were frequently the very targets where sexual violence was in itself a weapon of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide. Until then, the overwhelmingly male administered courts had largely not prosecuted crimes against women/girls, including the Nuremberg Trials. Women had not been recognized as in need of empowerment or particularly necessary to the process and judgment.

Broader movement today
It is worthy of consideration that what is recognized today as the broader movement of female empowerment in responding to sexual harassment and violence was first codified in Rome in 1998 and had its impetus from those who were victimized and then sought justice, proper recognition and a rightful means of remedy during and in the aftermath of the conflict in BiH. Civil society, professional organizations and diplomatic institutions of women/men and victims transformed the debate. Those victimized, (including some men), became the warriors for the rule of law, justice and even reconciliation plus a new set of codes and institutions that now bind us more together all as global citizens.
This brief recollection reflects the role of Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Rome Conference for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in bringing about the change. As head of the BiH delegation, I led a group of young legal experts eager and well educated to contribute to the efforts that would ultimately bear fruit in the codification of the Rome Statute in 1998. They were the sons and daughters of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Europe. The delegation of the NGO “No Peace Without Justice” led by Nicco Figa-Talamanca, gathered many of these young legal professionals as experts on loan, and we incorporated them, (more than half were women) into our state delegation. (Only state delegations could negotiate the drafts to be ultimately signed and adopted by member states).The goal was to establish not only the ICC but also procedures and laws that would exemplify the best and most forward looking aspects of international humanitarian law. In seeking to deliver such a forward looking goal of deterrence and justice, the key state delegations in Rome would need also to look back to the recent experience of Bosnia to be prompted address the injustices piled upon those targeted for sexual violence.
Women’s rights for all
The day to day discussions in the summer of 1998 were managed by small teams following and contributing to such negotiations under my supervision. Many NGO’s sought to make their imprint with varied and even at times contradictory agendas. However, while we met with some NGO’s and particularly victims groups to garner their positions, only UN member states could directly provide input and adopt codes. Among our team, several young women legal experts, Eve La’Hague, Anne Rubesame and Alison Smith, were always present and technically active in providing our key contributions to the discussions. Late into the negotiations our expert team came back to report to me with a bit of urgency in their voices – several delegations were revealing their opposition to the whole concept of “gender based crimes.” Presumably these delegations representing more conservatively religious countries were hesitant to codify such provisions that somehow could be perceived as legitimizing certain women’s rights that could be interpreted as condoning abortion or even promiscuity. While such a connection seemed strained, an active segment of women’s rights NGO’s became an apparent pretext to limit international norms defending women and their rights. Understanding this real threat, I called for a private meeting of a dozen or so key delegations including the Vatican, (leading several Catholic inclined states), Bahrain, (representing Wahabi inclined states), Iran, the Nordics, New Zealand, Australia, Western Europe and the United States. Our delegation made the point that while some argued over the hypothetical impact upon women’s behavior of the proposed code, the experience of BiH and particularly its systematically abused women and girls, mostly Muslim and Catholic, was real.
Early during the conflict in 1992 and upon starting to learn of the systematic rapes and enforced pregnancy, the BiH authorities and I as then first UN Ambassador representing BiH sought how to respond to the crimes inflicted upon women (and some men) of all ages but also the personal tragedies that such caused then and perhaps for several generations in the future. Some argued that the babies born out of such crimes would be genetically defective particularly as some of the perpetrators sought to project their acts of sexual violence as somehow in the service of their purportedly self-defined ethnic cause. Our or my proclamations could not be rightfully imposed upon the real victims, but rather I strongly took the view that it was up to us as representatives of BiH to empower the women to deal best with the dilemma. The children were not flawed. The women could choose to terminate pregnancy, to give birth and then give up the children for adoption, or the women to raise the children as part of their family. By giving this choice we hoped to not only comply with human rights commitments of the BiH government but even more critically empower the victims by not imposing but respecting personal options without judgment.
Revolution in addressing crimes
The later rational would form the basis of the positions advanced during the Rome Statue negotiations. We also sought to enhance such empowerment through the protections and remedies provided to witnesses and victims. This was also our motive in bringing together at that key moment the more religiously aa well as secularly oriented state delegations, the advancement of women and girls, beyond victims to empowered participants in seeking both justice and their futures. The “gender based crime” special category would not only allow for what was then revolutionary in addressing crimes of sexual violence but would provide the foundation for the evolution of our world view of the role of women in our society in peace and conflict, even beyond defining “grave violations of international humanitarian law.”
Allow me to add finally a personal note. While having made many difficult decisions during negotiations for peace and having risked my life in breaching the siege of BiH cities including Sarajevo to show solidarity with the defenders and civilans resisting those who would victimize them, I’m most certain of my contributions and thus proud in helping bring about the incorporation of gender based crimes, the negation of the death penalty as hollow remedy and signing the Rome Statute on behalf of a young, recovering and hopefully healing Bosnia & Herzegovina. That is a legacy that all BiH and global citizens, men and women, should see as leading all toward the future.
*Ambassador Muhamed (Mo) Sacirebey was first first permanent representativ of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations in New York in 1992. He latter served as a foreign minister of his country.

Short URL:

Generated image
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Generated image



© 2020 WebPublicaPress. All Rights Reserved. Log in - Designed by Gabfire Themes