Programme Overview and Objectives
Since 1989, when Honorable A.N.R. Robinson, then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and member of PGA called upon the UN General Assembly to re-launch the work to establish an international criminal tribunal, the activities of the the International Law and Human Rights (ILHR) Programme have focused on parliamentary mobilization to contribute to the creation and effective operation of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
PGA considers the adoption in 1998 of the Rome Statute as the first significant building block of a more just international legal order founded upon the principle of individual responsibility and equality of all before the law. For this reason, the work of the ILHR Programme is central to the attainment of PGA's vision, namely to contribute to the creation of a rules-based international order, for a more equitable, safe and democratic world.
The Parliamentary Campaign for the Effectiveness and Universality of the ICC System launched formally in 2001 has as its objective to support the work of both the ICC and of domestic jurisdictions in order to prevent, repress, and redress the commission of the most serious international crimes (crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression).
Due to the historic significance of the ICC system and its potential to promote peace and international security, PGA has avowed itself to make use of the political and legal parliamentary prerogatives of its members in order to:
- Promote the universal ratification of the Rome Statute
- Prepare and adopt effective national legislation (including the ratification of the Agreement of Privileges and Immunities of the ICC) to implement the Rome Statute in national systems, thus making operative the principle of complementarity, and ensuring full cooperation with the ICC.
- Protect the integrity of the Rome Statute, promote the enforcement of the decisions of the ICC and boost the international community’s engagement to fighting impunity.
- Fight impunity in situations and cases not addressed by the ICC, by reforming, strengthening and financing adequately national justice, preventative, and restorative mechanisms.
- Promote the universal ratification and domestic implementation of the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute adopted by the 2010 Review Conference, especially those concerning the crime of aggression.
- Increase the level of awareness and understanding of the new system of international justice among MPs and their constituencies with the view of maximising the deterrent impact of ICC interventions, and of reinforcing the creation and respect of the rule of law worldwide.
PGA works around the world in national parliaments, in numerous regional parliaments and multilateral fora. See Map of Work.
The PGA ICC Campaign has as fundamental principles the respect of international human rights standards, the protection of victims, and the mainstreaming of gender justice.
Since 2009, PGA has also increased its focus of action to emphasise the parliamentary mobilisation to strengthen the rule of law at the domestic level –in war-torn societies in particular those under examination and investigation by the ICC– and at the international level –through the impartial, fair, transparent and timely intervention of the Security Council in situations where the most serious international crimes have been committed.
Since the II half of 2013, the International Law and Human Rights Programme of PGA started to work on setting up a global parliamentary platform for the abolition of the death penalty.
Universality of the Rome Statute:
122 States have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute of the ICC. PGA Members played an active role and directly contributed to the ratification of 76 of the states from all the regions of the globe that became States Parties to the Rome Statute.
No other parliamentary institution or organisation is engaged in a campaign for the universality of the Rome Statute. The President of the ICC, the ICC Prosecutor, and the President of the Assembly of States Parties have publicly recognised on several occasions the leading role played by PGA in creating a parliamentary constituency for the new system of international criminal justice.
For the work of PGA on the universality of the Rome Statute country-by-country, in selected regions, and in collaboration with regional and international organisations consult our map.
Adoption of Implementing Legislation
In parallel to its ratification campaign, the PGA Secretariat assists legislators in advocating, preparing and adopting implementing legislation on the Rome Statute, as far as less than 40 of the 122 States Parties are equipped with this essential national legislation to prevent the most serious international crimes, prosecute them, and protect and redress its victims.
Over the past years, PGA Members have been so far extremely effective in securing the adoption of the ICC Implementing Legislation and the ratification or accession to the APIC in more than 25 countries.
For the work of PGA on implementing legislation country-by-country, in selected regions, and in collaboration with regional and international organisations consult our map or read more at the Implementing Legislation site.
Effective Cooperation with the ICC
PGA also participates actively to increase political mobilisation to see the prompt and law-abiding enforcement of the outstanding ICC arrest warrants with respect to the situations in Uganda, the DRC, Darfur, and Libya.
The Kampala Amendments Review Conference of the Rome Statute
Since June 2010, PGA engages in parliamentary mobilization in States Parties to ensure the ratification and domestic implementation of the amendments to the Rome Statute adopted by the Review Conference that met in Kampala, Uganda, concerning a definition and jurisdictional regime for the crime of aggression and the amendment to Article 8 on the use of certain prohibited weapons as war crimes in non-international armed conflicts (the so-called Belgian amendment).
The ILHR staff (ICC Team), directed by the Programme Convenors and supported by the PGA membership undertakes accurate analysis on the different issues stalling the ICC process in different countries.
Subsequently the (ICC team) activates trans-regional and national mobilization of parliamentarians who on the basis of multi-partisan involvement of stakeholders aim at overcoming the obstacles to ICC support. The tailored initiatives and activities of the Campaign are structured in such a way so as to ensure ‘cross-fertilization’ among country-specific activities, peer-to-peer dialogue, as well as the involvement of and coordination with the relevant actors and stakeholders of the ICC process.
In particular PGA members, with the support of the PGA Secretariat make use of a number of strategies and means to advance the goals of the ICC Campaign, including, but not limited to:
- Provide technical assistance or participate with parliamentary teams to prepare, endorse and promote legislative initiatives on ratification/accession and/or implementation of the Rome Statute;
- Initiate parliamentary questions, motions, resolutions or statements in support of the fight against impunity and the prevention and punishment of atrocities;
- Coordinate and inspire actions of other national institutions and actors, such as national Human Rights Commissions, in cooperation with civil society and other actors;
- Provide intelligence and information to actors working towards the same goal in order to undertake cost-effective and efficient actions in favour of the ICC;
- Hold sessions of the Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the ICC and the Rule of Law, and the meetings of its regional Working Groups; for matters relating to this year’s Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the ICC and the Rule of Law please contact firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Participate in consultations and strategic meetings among members of parliament from one or several countries to identify and overcome on obstacles to the objectives of the ICC Campaign;
- Conduct visits of Members of Parliament (MPs) to the ICC Headquarters in The Hague, in cooperation with the relevant organs of the ICC, and other authorities including the Parliament of The Netherlands;
- Engage in parliamentary mission of selected MPs from States Parties to Parliaments of States not Parties, or states pending to adopt implementing legislations.
- Maintain within each other ongoing consultations and strategic analysis on developments at the ICC and in countries where PGA members are active.
- Undertake, when necessary, interventions in the media or public debates on the fight against impunity and/or the ICC.
PGA is a founding member and part the Steering Committee of the Coalition of NGOs for an International Criminal Court (CICC). Through the CICC, PGA collaborates with numerous international and local NGOs.
In 2012, the PGA ICC Campaign is supported by the European Commission, European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, by the Governments of Liechtenstein, The Netherlands and Switzerland and by Humanity United and the MacArthur Foundation. Additionally, Parliaments and Governments in the countries where PGA operates, as well as UN agencies may make in-kind contributions to specific activities and initiatives.
In the past, the PGA ICC Campaign has also received financial support from the Ford Foundation, the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and from the Municipality of The Hague.
The International Law and Human Rights Programme runs an internship programme at its office in The Hague, during the Spring, Summer and Fall. The short internship allows young professionals to acquire project implementation, advocacy and legal skills, and provides them with the opportunity of contributing directly to the universality and effectiveness of the Rome Statute and to establish direct substantive contact with politicians and human rights activists worldwide. Open calls for applications are posted here.
- Mr. Coskun Coruz, MP (The Netherlands)
- Sen. Marita Perceval (Argentina)
- Sen. Raynell Andreychuck (Canada)
- Dip. Margarita Stolbizer (Argentina)
The work of the ILHR Programme is central to the attainment of PGA's vision, namely to contribute to the creation of a rules-based international order, for a more equitable, safe and democratic world.