ICC/Kampala: NPWJ holds panel discussion on “Prosecuting Persecution on the Basis of Gender”

2 Jun, 2010 | Press Releases

On 2 June 2010, on the margins of the ICC Review Conference held in Kampala, Uganda, No Peace Without Justice organized at the People’s Space, a panel discussion on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity: Art. 7(3): Prosecuting Persecution on the Basis of Gender. Speakers at the event included: Valerie Oostenveld, Professor of Law, University of Western Ontario, Canada; David Kato, Advocacy and Litigation Officer, Sexual Minorities (SMAG) Uganda, Niccolo’ Figa-Talamanca, Secretary General, (NPWJ), John Francis Onyango, Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate (Uganda) and Pam Spees, International Law Attorney and Advisor to the Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice (USA) as moderator of the panel.

The aim of the panel was to take a look at Article 7(3), its drafting history and especially its legal and political implications in respect of the exclusion of the crime against humanity of persecution based on gender identity from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and stressed the fact that Article 10 of the Rome Statute was a result of the political compromise that led to Article 7(3) legitimizing systematic persecution of thousands of people based on their gender identity.

The panel covered topics such as:

-an overview of widespread or systematic attacks directed against gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgender people since July 2002
-why these attacks should not have been excluded from the jurisdiction of the ICC
-the drafting history of Article 7(3)
-possible proposals for amendment of Article 7 [deletion of 7(3), amendment of 7(3), etc] so that widespread or systematic attacks directed against gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgender (LGBT) civilians could fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC
– an overview of widespread and systematic attack and discrimination against the LBGT community in Uganda and the recent anti homosexual bill presented before the parliament.

The panel was thought and organized in the margin of the Review Conference as perhaps the best opportunity to raise this issue, particularly being in Kampala, where homophobic policies have acquired new legitimacy, also through extensive (and documented) campaigns run by international evangelical anti-LGBT groups.

Background on the People’s Space:

The “People’s Space” is coordinated and organised by HURINET-U, UCICC and NPWJ during the Review Conference of the ICC Rome Statute, to be held in Kampala, Uganda from 31 May to 11 June 2010.
The goal of the People’s Space is to afford civil society, particularly victims’ and affected communities’ representatives, an opportunity to participate directly in the Review Conference, which can contribute to the evaluation of the ICC’s impact on victims and affected communities during the stocktaking process. During the Conference, a briefing will also be organised where State and civil society representatives who participated in the pre-Review Conference visits can brief other Conference delegates on their experiences.

For further information, contact Elio Polizzotto on epolizzotto@npwj.org or +32-2-548 39 21 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-39 15.