By Tina Dolgopol
Day 2 and new friendships are being formed. We also discuss missing friends; one name that constantly comes up in conversation is Rhonda Copelon. As one of the founders of the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice, Rhonda’s contribution to getting the voices of women heard in international fora is well known. Her generous spirit means we all miss her warmth and enthusiasm.
For those of us who have been working on women’s rights issues for the past couple of decades it is wonderful to meet the young women who are joining and forming the myriad of organizations now promoting women’s rights nationally and internationally. Especially important are the attempts to bring together regional groupings who can share experiences, particularly with respect to methods of organizing grass roots support, and who can develop new methods of communicating complex ideas to civil society.
Our formal meetings are to commence on Tuesday, but we continue to exchange views about the possibilities for the review conference. A recurring theme is whether or not the discussions concerning the crime of aggression at the review conference will so dominate the agenda that other areas requiring rethinking and consolidation may be overshadowed. Given the need to strengthen the quality of the gender analysis being undertaken by the constituent organs of the ICC, one frequently expressed fear is that too great a focus on aggression might leave little space for an enhanced effort on the gender implications of the Court’s work.
Some of us have expressed our pleasure that there is now a gender advisor to the ICC Prosecutor but have also indicated that we would like to see someone of senior rank appointed on a full time basis (this is definitely a personal reflection of those participating in the discussion and should not be attributed to either of the organizers).
There is little doubt that the friendly staff at our venue and the sunny weather are contributing to the congenial atmosphere at the dialogue. So too are the ever calm and smiling support staff of the sponsoring organizations adding to our sense of well being. Muchos gracias.