As part of the preparations for the Review Conference of the Rome Statute scheduled to take place in Kampala, Uganda from 31 May until 11 June, 2010, the President of the Assembly of States Party (ASP) visited Uganda for a three-day mission. In order to raise awareness and publicise this Review Conference, the Outreach Unit of the ICC, in partnership with No Peace Without Justice, the Human Rights Network of Uganda and the Uganda Coalition for the International Criminal Court organised yesterday a community outreach meeting in Tingkidi village, in the Acholi sub-region of northern Uganda. The activity was attended by over 800 people from the surrounding villages of Gaya, Choke Awee, Aboo, Pamineano, Palwong, Wiyanono, Jeng-Gara, Lamogi and Pagak.
Addressing the community, the ASP President, Mr Christian Wenaweser, noted that interaction with affected communities, providing them with tht opportunity to share their views and concerns with regard to the work of the International Criminal Court was very crucial at this stage as the Assembly prepares to convene a Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Uganda. He noted that in addition to the crime of aggression due to be amended during the conference, a stocktaking exercise to discuss the impact of the work of the Court on victims will also be a key agenda item. Commenting on the significance of the conference taking place in Uganda, a country currently under investigation by the Court, the ASP President noted that it "would give a voice to those who are affected by the crimes being investigated by the Court".
Pertinent issues raised by members of the community included the co-operation of States Parties in enforcing arrest warrants issued by the ICC; the provision of adequate resources to assist the rehabilitation processes of victims; and questions as to why the ICC is targeting only Africans for prosecution. States Parties delegates from Sierra Leone, Denmark, South Africa and Kenya, whose attendance was facilitated by the NGO partner No Peace Without Justice also helped to clarifying any misperceptions and concerns raised by the community.
In his closing remarks, the Chairman of Local Council 111 of the Lamogi sub-county, the Honourable Mr Dennis Rom, thanked the President and the other delegates for the unique opportunity that was accorded them to speak with officials of the ASP. "This visit has created confidence and trust amongst the affected community and shows that the Court cares", said Mr Rom.