Delegate Name: Emilio Hernandez-Martinez
United Nations Legal Committee
Inequality in International Criminal Prosecutions
Republic of Yemen
Emilio Hernandez-Martinez, Forest Hills Northern High School
In the face of an increasingly vulnerable global populace suffering from acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression, the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries created The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 17th, 1998. The four transgressions listed became the main categories of the crimes under their jurisdiction, though, due to the lack of an enforcement body, the Court relies entirely upon the cooperation of all participatory states. In total, one hundred twenty-three parties have signed and ratified the Statute.
Among the nations that chose not to support the treaty, the Republic of Yemen is notorious for its opposition to the ICC. Though Yemen did indeed sign the Rome Statute on December 28th, 2000, and therefore implicitly consented to the Court’s authority, the country has yet to ratify the enactment or its subsequent amendments; this is largely a consequence of the ongoing civil war that has ravaged its citizenry since 2014. In response to allegations of war crimes and human rights violations taking place within the nation, in addition to a near absolute lack of a criminal prosecution system, Yemen has faced the ICC on several occasions. Numerous foreign associations and individuals have sought intervention from the Court on Yemen’s practices, namely the supposed war crimes committed by the internationally recognized and Saudi-backed coalition.
Reflecting the thoughts of other bodies against the Statute, Yemen’s central criticism of the Court is that it generates minimal action through an overly prolonged procedure. The effectiveness of the ICC has been called into question quite frequently, even as far back as the original proposal for the Rome Statute, with the seven nations who voted against it and the twenty-one who abstained; Yemen, was, of course, among those seven. Not only is the basis of the institution inherently unable to address international crimes in a fair and effective manner, but the level of investment given to the organization, both financially and timewise, is disproportionately high. With an estimated total outlay of $900 million USD derived from federal government contributions and only one completed trial, many (including Yemen) suspect that the project is simply too wide-ranging to be properly functional. Beyond that, the fact remains that certain situations have arisen in recent history that may have benefited from the Court’s interference, such as the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, but either the restrictions set in place for its jurisdiction or an actual internal bias have prevented any substantial progress.
Though the chief concern presented by the committee is in regard to a perceived inequality within the chosen prosecutions, the Republic of Yemen firmly believes that the crux of the matter is the intrinsic flaw in the foundation of attempting to regulate worldwide criminal activity. From its very inception, the International Criminal Court has been based upon the fallacy that such form of ordinance is both feasible and necessary, an assessment that Yemen wholly opposes; in other words, Yemen is of the opinion that the Rome Statute should be repealed and the ICC consequently dismantled. While a motion for outright elimination of the program may be considered radical, Yemen maintains that it is the only veritable, long-term solution to all of the issues currently plaguing this division of the United Nations.