Inter-Governmental Regional Conference on Democracy, Human rights and the Role of the International Criminal Court

Speech by H.E. Dr. Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States - Sana'a, 10 – 12 January 2004

H.E. AMR MOUSSA, Secretary General of the Arab League:
His Excellency Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am so glad to stand today in Sana’a, the Arabic Culture Capital for this year, to express my pleasure and pride of participating in the name of the Arab League at the present great assembly that meets on the territories of the young Yemen and to express my deep thanks to His Excellency Mr. President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemen people and his Government for their appropriate welcoming and the better hospitality.
I further express my considerations to the organization leaders of the present conference: the Government of Yemen, the European Union and the organization of “No Peace without Justice” and for their kind invitation of the Arab League for participating in this important assembly that ensures a precious opportunity for dialogue, discussion and study on several pressing matters that encounter the world in general and the Arabic and Islamic worlds in particular. This dialogue lays in front of all of us great liabilities as governments and societies: how can we ensure to our countries a future based on a solid ground of democracy and human rights respect and how can we implement aspirant programs for national and regional development and raise the law authorities, the wise ruling parallel to the regional just peace structure and a serious international system.
Mr. President,
We are living the first decade of the twenty first century that abounds in non-preceded challenges, disorder in management questions and lack of confidence between the different world forces. World is agitated by the disordered movement and lives a phase of great tension. In my opinion the main reason is due to:
First: The strategy intellect with the force summit, which considers that the end of the cold war in the way it ended, is the end of the history as the victory is decisive and everybody must obey.
Second: In the perspective of exercising force at the international relations, whatever are their grounds, is based on a hypothesis, the purposes of which are doubted, concerns the conflict of the civilizations and the necessity of subjugating the other civilizations and particularly the Islamic one to the decisions of one sole civilization.
Third: Attempt to define the international interests regardless the interests of the poor or developed countries as well as the mondialization concept agitation and the increase of the lack of confidence in the international economic relations.
Fourth: The terrorism is a very dangerous effect and must with no doubt be condemned and combated but the dangerous here is the attempt of some one to link the terrorism resistance with the conflict of civilizations, which we must take care and reject.
Fifth: The bilateral criteria and the deal with the similar affairs with more than one criterion and the partiality to the tyranny and occupation as well as to claim the democracy in one place and to forgive its contrary in another place, to call to the trade freedom and exercising the protection policies at the same time, speaking about human rights and in the other side issue laws that restrict the freedoms.
We are complaining of several things but at the same time we know that we have to change in ourselves, to develop our societies and to exercise the auto-critic process. Difficulties are not only emanated from the regional political problems but also from the social and economic problems that are increasing without a regional policy of comprehensive development and the treating with the inherited lacks with enthusiasm and speed. Yes, it is now the time that the democracy should be implemented and the development average must be accelerated. Yes, we must now develop our education to graduate scientists not only simple employees.
We must exercise the human development policies and to follow the international progress as associated partners not as simple dependant consumers. For sure we are capable to do it in our Arabic and Islamic world particularly that most of our ambitious are not new to us.
Since the nineteenth century the democratic attempts exist in the region. The efficient evidence is the laws and legislative institutions that are in the State Council of Egypt. Furthermore the democracy has been practiced in Egypt and Lebanon. Maybe such practice was not perfect but it was effective regimes, bound by constitutions, regulations and laws… Apart the international policies, the democracy would have been naturally developed in the Middle East.
In fact such policies retarded if not destroyed the democracy course in the region since 1940’s… We are claiming democracy. It is our right to claim it. But it is not an imposed decision but a process to be exercised. While I see in this hall Arabic Civil Society organizations, coming from anywhere, having their own opinions, jurisprudences and claims that freely express of it in this hall and outside, in this Capital and in its other sisters, in this country which is part of the Arab world, we are for sure in the way of consolidating the democratic regimes. When elections are carried out in the entire Arab countries, regardless its clearness degree, it will represent a step towards the democratic regimes. When the parties are multiplied regardless the present effectiveness, it is for sure a step towards democracy.
Yes. The democracy is needed. Democracy has only one sole meaning. As Mrs. Emma Bonino said: There is no European democracy and another African but it is one sole democracy. The option is very clear: to be implemented or not. But let us start with it… practice it. The allegation that an umpired force occupied this region for teaching peoples the democracy is without ground and the only result of it shall be the increase of disorder.
Speaking about democracy, human rights and human development is a very sound speech but it must not dissimulate other reality: the political justice in the Middle East is absent. Palestine is the imminent example. In this purpose I admire the name of the organization that is participating in the conference sponsoring: “NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE”. If justice is absent, peace shall be eliminated from the region and the rage and frustration shall increase. We are demanding ourselves in the entire Middle East region where is justice regarding this population. Where is the stability regarding Iraq! Where is the integrity and sovereignty guarantee of Iraq! Where is the democracy implementation therein?
We are determined in the Arab world to reconstruct our societies. The contents of the report issued by the United Nations in the last year on the human development in the Arabic world and the contents of the report of this year make us contemplate our situation for reconstructing the culture, sociology and democracy. It is a commitment that we must do it as I previously said. Furthermore we are under reorganizing the structure of the Arab League regarding the democracy concept in the Arab regime. There is a proposal to constitute one sole Arabic parliament, which will be submitted to the next Arab Summit in Tunisia. It is your own proposal Mr. President, your common proposal with Egypt. Furthermore the door should be opened to the civil society organizations as well as the private sector institutions for sharing at the same situation that they have in the United Nations in the frame of political and economic policies all over the Arab World.
We still have to say that the disregard of the Palestinians justice is a very dangerous and frustrating matter. We want peace with Israel. The imminent proof thereof is the Arabic Peace process unanimously approved during the Summit of Beirut 2002. We have no battle with Jews but our battle is against the occupation by Israel to the Arab territories and the abstention of the Israeli occupation to establish the state of Palestine on the whole occupied Palestinian territories including Jerusalem.
Briefly speaking, we are claiming the international forces headed by the United States of America to enter with us on dialogue and not in collision. Let us be partners in structuring a new just, international system and a civilized cooperation based on the positive partnership. We have our claims as they also have their claims. We have interests with them as well as they have interests with us. Let them put their hands in ours not only for the matters they are claiming for but also for realizing the interest needs and stability of the region and for reaching to a fair peace for the Palestinians and recovering the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq.
Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The daily crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians and the construction of campus in the occupied Palestinian territories and lastly the construction of the colonial wall constitute a dangerous breach of the international laws and that the breach of which enters in the international jurisprudence competence as they are considered crimes against humanity and war crimes. All of which are of the International Criminal Tribunal competence that will be discussed by the present conference as being a judicial mechanism for preventing dangerous international crimes and implementing justice and human international law without any distinguishing and in all independency and neutrality.
Believing in the role of this Tribunal the Arab League contributed with efficacy in the efforts of its constitution. It contributed in numerous conferences about it and organized several meetings for preparing the climate in order to invite the Arab countries to participate to its Articles of association that most of them have signed it but only two countries have ratified it. The other countries are continuing dialogue and discussions inside its concerned organisms for confronting the obstacles of the ratification and joining specially regarding the consistency of their constitutions and laws with the articles of associations of the tribunal. Therefore, for helping the Arab countries in this field, a committee of experts in the Arab League is preparing a typically Arabic bill of crimes that enters in the tribunal competence and the rules of cooperation.
I would like particularly to give my full considerations to the cooperation existing between the Republic of Yemen, the Arab League and the International Committee of the Red Cross concerning the ratification of the Articles of association by Yemen.
Finally I would like to express my hope that this meeting shall constitute an opportunity for contributing in the deployed efforts for the realization of the desirable transfer of our societies towards better future and to put the most suitable steps for the consolidation of the regional and international cooperation. We are appreciating the care of the European Union Countries and their support to this conference. I further hope that the present conference shall contribute in confirming the dialogue between the cultures and civilizations and to win against the extravagant currents that spread in several societies including west progressist societies that addressed accusations to the Islamic world while they themselves allowed to religious actions to interfere in politics.
In reality NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE AND NO JUSTICE WITHOUT FORGIVENESS and No forgiveness without intellectual sublimity and commitment in the principles of law and the expansion of democracy in the international relations and human rights respect.