Diplomatic Forum Approves International Criminal Court Charter

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The five-week diplomatic forum dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court ended in Rome–July 17. The forum approved the Final Act and the Charter of the International Criminal Court by 120 votes to 7 (the United States–China–the Philippines–India–Israel–Sri Lanka and Turkey)–with 21 abstentions–thereby laying the foundation of international justice.

The International Court which will be based in the Hague is empowered to punish for the following four crimes:

–national–racial–or ethnic genocide; or an attempt of partial or complete destruction of a religious group;

–crimes against humanity–including mass assaults on civilians–enslavement–tortures–rapes–impregnation as a result of rape and sterilization;

–war crimes–gross violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and other international laws committed under a complex program. (For the first time–crimes committed during domestic war are included in this category);

–aggression–the Security Council must define this crime which is of more political character.

Almost all the countries present–except those which voted against and abstained from the vote–offered their signatures to the Final Act. Armenia’s Charge d’Affaires to Italy signed the Act on behalf of Armenia.

Only 36 countries have signed the Charter–which is open for signing until December 31–2001. The decision on signing the Charter by Armenia will be made after the final text is thoroughly studied.

A closing ceremony of the forum attended by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan–who had also been present at the opening of the forum–was held at Rome’s Mayor’s Office on July 18.

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