Friday, February 26, 2016

A DAY AT INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT RECALLS ME OF MY TRAUMATISED PEOPLE

Irfan Quraishi

When on Thursday I was informed about a visit to the International Criminal Court, I was really excited to go to the court. As I believe this is the court where persons in my homeland involved in the heinous crime like Crime against humanity, war crimes, Human rights violation and sexual violence deserves to be sentenced one day.

My homeland. Yes I am talking about Kashmir which is also known as Paradise on earth due to its picturesque and natural beauty. But the same place has become symbol of bloodshed and agony due to decades of atrocities at the hands of rulers.

On way to the ICC, located at the Hauge, I was recalling those mothers sitting in the monthly sit-in demonstrations at the city center Lalchowk in the valley, appealing International bodies like ICC and UN Security Council to intervene into the enforced disappearance of their loved ones, but died without seeing their beloved sons.

But the one thing which was disturbing my excitement about visiting the ICC to seek some possible interventions into these heinous crimes against my own people ironically was the country I live in i.e., India doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of ICC. 
Behind me pictures of criminals accused of
atrocities displayed.

In the meanwhile amid several thoughts in my mind, I was finally at the ICC gate with my other colleagues. After a simple security check, now I was inside the main court complex. The first thing I faced was the pictures of criminals accused of atrocities displayed in the main reception hall.
This was the moment when a recall of ‘Kunan poshpora Mass Rape’ by the Indian soldiers came to my mind. It was February 1991, when soldiers entered this village a raped brutally almost all the women present there.

With this feeling of sorrow and untold story, I was rooming around and finally told that we (colleagues) can go into the court room. 


In-fact, the entry into the court room or court itself was not a hectic task as compared to the sub courts at my home in Kahsmir. Sub courts there are protected with large contingents of security personnel with barbed wires in place besides frisking and other security checks and measures. It was quite a surprising feeling to enter the international court at ease as the terrorized image of my sub court was in my mind. But it was really great to see a court like this, clam, systematic, highly secured but no inconvenience to the visitor. At least there was no cop with AK47 gun pointing towards the entry.

With this experience, now finally I reached to the court room. But to my utter shock, it was quite clam and pin drop silence all over. I can see the judges, the clerks, the prosecutor and defendant, but can’t hear them as it was a private hearing of a witness in ‘The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda’ case. Sitting in the balcony meant for visitors, I was very upset as I could not hear the trial. For a moment i tried to understand the body language of lawyers and judges, but failed. Suddenly out of all rising tension, I saw a drowsy judge on chair among the other two. For a change this makes me to laugh amid emotions of justice for my people.

Fadi Eil Abdallah, spokesperson and head of the public affairs
at the international Criminal Court.
 Fadi Eil Abdallah, spokesperson and head of the public affairs at the international Criminal Court.Finally it was time for a meeting with Fadi Eil Abdallah, spokesperson and head of the public affairs at the international Criminal Court I was curious to ask him if there is a single case with the ICC out of alleged hundreds of war crime case. Obviously, I got chance to ask him the same and the answer was “NO”. This was something expected. However, he quickly adds that the ICC aims to be universal so that justice may prevail to all. And ‘I Hope too…Justice will prevail to all’.

( Irfan Quraishi is a Kashmir Based  Broadcast & Multimedia Journalist)

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A DAY AT INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT RECALLS ME OF MY TRAUMATISED PEOPLE by Irfan Quraishi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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