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PGA Consultations on the ICC in the Middle East and the Mediterranean (MEMED)

Bahrain, March 15-17, 2009

Legislators from Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, the UAE and Yemen met in Manama, Bahrain under the auspices of Parliamentarians for Global Action and its members Dr. Salah Ali, MP (Al Menbar) and Mr. Khalil Al-Marzooq, MP (Al Wefaq) members of the Majlis Al Nuwab (Council of Representatives) to discuss the role of Arab States in the International Criminal Court, the status of current and potential situations under investigation and prosecution, the position of the United States with respect the ICC, and the progress in the negotiations for the inclusion of the Crime of Aggression in the Rome Statute.

The sessions benefited from the presentations and leadership of Amb. Christian Wenaweser (Liechtenstein), President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute; Mr. Rod Rastan from the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC; and Mr. MJ Nolan, MP (Ireland), Deputy Convenor of PGA's International Law and Human Rights Programme.

In their intervention, participating parliamentarians reinforced the centrality of the principle of complementarity in the Rome Statute system, the importance given by the region to the inclusion of the crime of aggression, and the imperative to protect the judicial independence of the ICC from interference by all political actors.

Consultations with Bahrain Government 18-19 March

Following the Working Group session, a series of consultations were held with the speakers of both Chambers of the Parliament of Bahrain, as well as with Sheik Khalid Ali Al Khalifa, Minister of Justice, Dr. Nazar Sadeq Al Baharna, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Sheik Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister, as well as civil society organisations on the prospects of Bahrain´s ratification of the Rome Statute and its leading role in the region to support the principles of no impunity, complementarity and judicial independence as enshrined in the Rome Statute.

H.E. Amb. Enrico Padula of Italy, on behalf of the European Union Presidency, hosted a session where Amb. Christian Wenaweser, President of the ASP to the Rome Statute, and the PGA delegation met with the representatives of Rome Statute's State Parties France, Japan, Jordan, Germany, and Italy in Bahrain.

In organizing the MEMED Working Group, the multi-party membership of PGA in the Majis Al-Nuwab of Bahrain (Council of Representatives) led by the PGA Executive Committee Member Mr. Khalil Al-Marzooq, MP (Al-Wefaq) Chair of the Legislation and Legal Committee and by (Al-Menbar), Vice-Chairman, House of Representatives, is committed to expand dialogue with their peers from the region, as well as supporting the process of ratification of the Rome Statute.

Background Information:

Bahrain, the host of the III Session of Working Group on the Universality of the ICC in the Memed Region, signed the Rome Statute on 11 December 2000. The Ministry of Justice has actively followed ICC-related developments since the signature of the Statute and to assess the legal implications of the Rome Statute.

Given the urgent need of ensuring adequate protection for the civilian population and the great contribution that Arab parliamentarians could give to strengthen the international Rule of Law, in February 2005 members of PGA created the Working Group on the Universality of the ICC in the Middle East and South Mediterranean (MEMED) in parallel to the Cairo PGA Conference on "The Rule of Law and the Protection of the Civilian Population" held in the Peoples' Assembly of Egypt.

The PGA MEMED Working Group is open to any individual parliamentarian concerned with the role that international justice has over international security and the rule of law. The Working Group, throughout its sessions and regular exchanges aims at providing a platform of action of parliamentarians, as well as serving the goals of informing, connecting, empowering and projecting the members as political actors concerned with the issues at hand. The PGA secretariat provides support to the actions that the individual parliamentarians decide and commit to undertake.

Since 1995, the PGA MEMED Working Group has gathered more than 50 MPs from the region, who attended PGA meetings held in Beirut in May 2006 and the 2nd Working Group meeting held in The Hague in June 2007. In 2008, parliamentarians from the region attended PGA's Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the ICC and the Rule of Law (5th session, held in the Dominican Republic Congress, Santo Domingo, 30-31 October 2008) where, in addition of holding consultations with the ICC Prosecutor, were able to attest the effect and impact for democratization and security at the domestic level of the implementation of the Rome Statute, for example in the Latin American region.

Previous Activities of PGA in the Region

  • PGA's mission to the Parliament of Bahrain Manama, Bahrain, 2004
  • PGA Regional Parliamentary Conference: The Rule of Law and the Protection of Civilians - I meeting, Working Group on the Universality of the Rome Statute in the MEMED region Parliament of Egypt, Cairo, 9-10 February 2005
  • Parliamentarians' Roundtable Discussion on the ICC & informal meeting of the PGA Working Group on the ICC in the MEMED Beirut, Lebanon, on 31 May 2006
  • 28th Annual Forum on Human Security and the IV Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the ICC and the Rule of Law (Participation of delegations from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Morocco, and Yemen) National Diet of Japan, Tokyo, 4 and 5 December 2006
  • Meeting of PGA's Working Group on the Universality of the ICC in the Middle East and Mediterranean Countries
    (The Hague, The Netherlands)
    June 11-12, 2007
  • PGA participation in the Seminar on the ICC co-organized by German Embassy and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Secretariat of the League of Arab States, Cairo, Egypt, 30-31 January 2008
  • PGA Intervention on Peace and Justice at Conference "Principles of International Criminal Law and the ICC", co-organised by The Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Arab League Secretariat Cairo, Egypt, 8-9 October 2008
  • 30th Annual Forum on Democratic Institutions and the Rule of Law and the V Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the ICC and the Rule of Law (Participation of delegations from Bahrain, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon) National Congress, Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo 30 & 31 October 2008
PGA Consultations on the ICC in the Middle East and the Mediterranean (MEMED)

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