For all activists working on behalf of women everywhere, this is to share some recent global procedural changes at the International Criminal Court in the Hague in case you haven’t seen them. I suspect they could prove extremely useful to us all.
The information came to light as a result of campaigning with #women2gether – a group of British women activists who have emerged as a result of campaigns representing the needs of poor, sick and disabled under austerity.
[For seeking deeper background, the rabbithole is here:
#women2gether began with this post from my colleague, Jayne Linney:
Seeing another petition to the ICC resulted in our doing this:
(Please note: the examples referred to in the petition are neither exclusive or exhaustive – they were used only for illustrating the principle issue of austerity as a crime against humanity)
In response, a disability activist colleague – Samuel Miller – posted this about his experiences with the ICC and UN:
This is my ‘reply’ to his information:
It led me to take a further look at the ICC itself and its behaviour/decisions. This is what I found following a brief search:
(Please note how the women’s arguments are gaslighted, derailed, distracted, silenced and otherwise victim-blamed by legal and media commentaries. Note, too, the general assumption that there is no alternative to austerity).
We are not the only European women with similar opinions who are acting on them:
As a result, I did another brief search of the ICC itself and it is this information particularly that I am aiming to draw to the attention of global women activists (and the men who support us):
Firstly; past behaviour of the court shows clear evidence that its actions and decisions are systemically and institutionally racist. Take a look at this:
There is no way anyone can convince me that crimes against humanity on this planet occur only in Africa. So the assumption that all other world governments – especially those led by white men – can be assumed to behave lawfully is clearly unsafe because it’s not supported by evidence. However…
Secondly: The ICC has a very interesting new Chief Prosecutor: Mrs Fatou Bensouda, of The Gambia, who took up her appointment on 15 June 2012. It is reasonable to assume that Mrs. Bensouda was not in overall charge of the case management of Greek austerity, because the case was already up and running when she was appointed.
Thirdly: Since her arrival in office, the ICC has published TWO new protocols – one applied and one in draft:
Code of Conduct for the office of the Prosecutor.pdf (effective from 5th September 2013)
I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know the finer points of all this, but when we apply general Human Rights principles – which the Court exists to uphold – using the measures contained in both the Prosecutors’ Code and the Draft Policy, the problems we know are there become very apparent.
I’ve only perused these briefly as potential working tools for activists but I’m already impressed and see a number of very worthwhile opportunities worth testing. Personally, I would like to see ‘test-runs’ of BOTH procedures to check if they actually work for women.
I can also see opportunities to accuse the Court itself of gender crimes against humanity because, in their Greek austerity ruling, the following occurred:
1. The ICC only considered a very limited male view of the economic situation as ‘legitimate’. Women’s experience and evidence was ‘overlooked’ in favour of a very small but extremely wealthy interest-group who have vested interests in the case of austerity’s impact on women remaining unheard, despite incontrovertible evidence that the cumulative impact is systemically lethal to both us and our children.
2. The ICC failed to address the serious economic inequalities of the presenting protagonists and take these into account. It did nothing to equalize this discrepancy in representation:
http://www.twitlonger.com/show/k7lk42 < (Women ought to recognise this situation only too well)
The derogation of the Court’s duty to ensure equality of resources for the legal representation of women cannot but result in anything other than an unsafe judgement. These were economically-deprived-by-intent non-legal professional women presenting legal arguments against well-trained and richly-rewarded lawyers aiming to excuse the ‘accused’ from their social duties and responsibilities towards women in their political and economic decision-making. Under Human Rights standards, there is no way this could ever be regarded as a ‘fair’ hearing.
3. In only ‘recognising’ the men’s legal arguments around austerity – already known to be deeply prejudiced against women in Britain alone – the Court excluded and silenced our voices and experiences, at a time when we can be shown to be carrying the greatest consequences, up to and including the violation of ALL our human rights.
If my interpretation is correct, this then renders the Court culpable in aiding and abetting economic gender-based crimes against humanity. The evidence shouldn’t be hard to find in events since this ruling was made.
4. In doing all of the above, as well as additionally and apparently participating in the gaslighting and legal mockery of the Greek women appellants, the Court took it’s eye off the ball of “Crimes Against Humanity” and colluded with silencing the viewpoint and experience of women, derailing it into a legal cul-de-sac, where more general lawful principles of whether imposed economic austerity constitutes a crime against the majority of humanity was sidelined and silenced too. These principles – which the Court exists to uphold – appear to have been discounted in favour of legalistic arguments aimed apportioning blame and relieving government officials of their public duties or responsibilities to ALL the nationals they are answerable to. This is particularly the case in Europe, when ECHR lays these requirements down on those national governments forming a part of the EEC.
5. If my activist arguments have any traction, none of the above will accord with the Articles of Rome, which intends for women to have an equal voice in what constitutes crimes against humanity. Again, if my assessment is at all accurate, we ought to have tangible legal evidence pouring out of every orifice!
As both a woman and an activist, my own response is that can fuck off back wherever it came from, together with the corruption it rode in on.
From my own perspective, I can see any number of possible new opportunities for women in these developments, not just locally but globally. Additionally, it seems as though the ICC prosecutor is seeing exactly the same issues. Whilst us Brits will pursue our own activities, since this is a global problem we’re all experiencing, I believe it’s vital to share this.
One small thought about how the global women’s situation might be resolved…
In the case of economic austerity, there does seem to be one simple solution in redressing the crimes against women and children. It particularly appeals to me because I can just imagine the reaction from the very small minority affected by it:
Economic inequality is very well recorded; the difference between the wealth of, literally, a handful of men and most women – globally – is so great as to be hard to actually conceive, even in the face of the evidence.
If we can prove there are gender crimes against humanity and have this ruled in the ICC, we’d have to consider arguments as to how it could be resolved. Taking a look at existing evidence, I’d say fifty-percent of all humanity’s global wealth presently in the control of private interests was stolen from women… and we want it back. If men want to play hierarchies with their part of economy that’s their business – impoverished women have our own, very different, priorities that urgently need tending to.
If the ICC ruled in favour of women’s equality of resources, even just for legal preparation and investigations, it would begin the process of returning women’s economic resources to equal standards and enable us to begin undoing the lethal and cruel damage this entire system has crushed down upon women, and our children, everywhere…
And if these obscenely-rich and mainly white men refuse? That ought to be fascinating to watch… and record!
Whether any of this has any traction is for you to decide – I’ve simply see a realistic opportunity for all of us that’s worth sharing.