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

BC credit report suggests fiscal change afoot if NDP win provincial election

B.C. credit report suggests fiscal change afoot if NDP win provincial election by The Canadian Press Posted Mar 26, 2013 5:14 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email VICTORIA – The country’s largest credit agency has confirmed British Columbia’s credit rating at AA high, but the bond rating agency cautions the upcoming provincial election could mean a change in fiscal direction.The Dominion Bond Rating Service issued a report Tuesday confirming the long- and short-term debt rating, saying all trends are stable, despite weak economic output.But DBRS said that it was considering recent opinion polls that suggest the New Democrats have the best chance of forming the next government.“While (the agency) is encouraged by the responsive measures taken in the February budget to restore fiscal balance,” the statement said, “the upcoming provincial election … has the potential to delay or cancel the implementation of some of the … budgetary measures.“(The agency) believes this could result in a change in fiscal direction,” said the report.B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong called the report a vote of confidence for the Liberal government over its handling of provincial finances.He said he thought the report was a warning that the NDP could change the province’s fortunes.“They’re watching, and the point here is they’re concerned about the uncertainty, the very real possibility that an NDP government would go in a significantly different direction,” he said in an interview“You get a clear sense from the Dominion Bond Rating Service that they have a strong suspicion that it does not include the kind of fiscal discipline that has been the hallmark of our government.”NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston said he didn’t believe the agency was sounding any kind of alarm, rather, that the analysis was business as usual.Asked what kind of fiscal change could be expected if the New Democrat were to form government, he said they might be “more prudent” than the Liberals.“I’m sure (the agency) will be equally satisfied with the fiscal measures we’ll take,” he said in an interview.The Liberals’ pre-election budget offered few goodies to voters, though it does balance the province’s books by 2013-2014.De Jong was reviewing the rating report from Ontario, where he recently met with that province’s new finance minister, Charles Sousa.“They’d love to have our credit rating,” he said.De Jong said that he and the minister discussed trying to bring some uniformity to question of tax credits and subsidies for the film sector, which has sparked anger from those in the industry based in B.C. Its advocates complain Vancouver is losing business to eastern provinces, which offer richer tax breaks.“Let’s find a way to bring some consistency to this,” he said.The DBRS report said the fiscal progress of the province, along with its relatively low debt burden, will allow it to withstand further economic turbulence.The agency will provide a report with further analysis on the province’s finances following a new budget, which is expected to be presented in the summer or early fall.In December, Moody’s Investors Service revised its outlook on B.C.’s AAA rating from stable to negative. read more