Annan top UN officials hail treaty event heralding permanent war crimes court

Saying that a missing link in international justice is now in place, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today joined other top UN officials in hailing a historic treaty event held this morning in New York, where representatives of 10 States deposited their instruments ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), thus paving the way for the accord’s entry into force in less than three months. “The long-held dream of a permanent international criminal court will now be realized,” the Secretary-General told a ceremony in Rome, where the treaty to set up the Court had been negotiated in 1998. “Impunity has been dealt a decisive blow.””The time is at last coming when humanity no longer has to bear impotent witness to the worst atrocities, because those tempted to commit such crimes will know that justice awaits them,” Mr. Annan said in a message broadcast via satellite from the Palazio del Quirinale, where he appeared with Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the President of Italy.Today’s action brought to 66 the number of ratifications lodged with the UN. This is six more than needed for the treaty to enter into force, which will now happen on 1 July, in accordance with the provisions of the Statute. In a message welcoming what he said was “a truly meaningful moment,” the President of the UN General Assembly, Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea, said the scope, scale and nature of atrocities that have been committed in many parts of the world during the last 20 years have “reminded us of the urgency of creating a permanent mechanism to bring to justice the perpetrators of such inhuman crimes as genocide, ethnic cleansing, sexual slavery and maiming.”It was widely recognized that a permanent international criminal court would be more efficient than ad hoc tribunals in taking action against crimes and also in limiting the extent or duration of violence by the nature of its very existence, he noted. “Furthermore, it will provide much stronger deterrence to potential criminals by giving them a clear warning that there will be no place for them to hide,” he added.For her part, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, said that the lessons of the tribunals established for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda had proved particularly important for the substantive development of international criminal law and the protection of human rights.”The unequivocal message emerging from The Hague and Arusha is that where domestic legal order has broken down, or national authorities are unwilling or unable to punish gross violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, the international community has an obligation and a responsibility to respond,” she said. “With the coming into force of the Rome Statute, the international community will have accepted that responsibility on a permanent basis.” read more

Saskatchewan government says budget is on track despite spending bump

Saskatchewan’s Finance Minister Kevin Doherty discusses the province’s 2017 budget at the Legislative Building in Regina, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. After the first three months of the fiscal year, Finance Minister Kevin Doherty’s projection of almost $685-million deficit remains unchanged. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 25, 2017 10:56 am MDT Last Updated Aug 25, 2017 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Saskatchewan government says budget is on track, despite spending bump REGINA – The first indication of what impact Saskatchewan’s spring austerity budget has had shows things are on track despite a slight jump in spending.After the first three months of the fiscal year, Finance Minister Kevin Doherty’s projection of almost $685-million deficit remains unchanged.Revenues were about $42 million higher than expected — less than one per cent above the original budget prediction — while expenses were up about $82 million.To make up the difference, the province plans to draw $40 million from a $300-million contingency fund built into this year’s budget.Another $125 million from the fund is being used to cover public-sector salaries while the government tries to push through wage reductions announced earlier this year.Doherty says the province’s economy is getting healthier.“The Saskatchewan economy is performing well so far and for the first time in two years is projected to post positive growth,” the finance minister said in a release Friday.“We still have work to do to control government’s overall costs, including savings we are working hard to achieve in total compensation expense.”The government remains committed to balancing the budget within two years, he added.But the Opposition suggests the results aren’t as positive as the government suggests. Interim NDP Leader Nicole Sarauer said half of the $300-million contingency fund is already spent.“It’s pretty ridiculous for the minister to say that they’re on track. They’ve used up half of their contingency fund in the first quarter alone. I don’t think you have to be an accountant to realize that that’s not really on track,” Sarauer said.The austerity budget delivered in March was — by Premier Brad Wall’s own admission — unpopular with voters because of cuts that were made to help tackle a $1.3-billion deficit from last year.The deficit was due in large part to the ongoing impact of low resource prices.The Saskatchewan Party government took a number of measures in the most recent budget to fight the deficit. They included increasing and expanding the provincial sales tax and shutting down the Crown-owned Saskatchewan Transportation Co.The government also slashed funding to libraries, community-based organizations and to funeral services for people on social assistance, although it has backtracked on those plans. read more