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International Criminal Court

The 60th ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has been reached less than four years after its adoption. This means that the statute will enter into force on 1 July 2002. This is a milestone in the international community's fight to end impunity for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The ICRC has consistently supported the creation of a permanent international criminal court and has taken part as an expert in negotiations leading to the adoption of the statute at a diplomatic conference held in Rome in July 1998 and has contributed to the Preparatory Commission's work in drawing up the Elements of Crimes and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. In its work to promote the statute, the ICRC Advisory Service encourages states to carry out a thorough review of their national criminal law to ensure that the crimes within the Court's jurisdiction - war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity - can be prosecuted in national courts.

Children have rights, too

As of April 2002, the pupils of five schools in Santiago, Chile, will learn about their rights by taking part in three travelling workshops for children set up by the Chilean Red Cross youth. This initiative, which is part of a programme of support for minors in vulnerable social situations, aims to equip these children with the tools to confront the difficulties in their daily lives and to give them a better chance for the future.

In addition, the young people of the Chilean Red Cross, with the ICRC's financial assistance, are developing a manual and a board game called "The Red Cross and My Country", which will help children from more than 500 schools to learn through play and other pedagogical methods about the norms of international humanitarian law and the origins of the Movement.

Guided tour

Situated in close proximity, the visitors' services of the ICRC, the Federation and the Red Cross Museum welcome people wishing to learn more about these three institutions.

Presentations, videos, exhibits or guided tours offer a general introduction to the Movement and an overview of its various activities - assistance and protection - in times of peace and conflict. At the Museum the visitor relives the history of the Movement. The ICRC also introduces international humanitarian law. The Federation presents the structure of the Movement and the coordination work of the secretariat. For individuals who would like to organize a visit, contact details for the three services are as follows:

Red Cross Museum
Tel: +41 22 748 95 06

ICRC (groups only)
Tel: +41 22 730 21 49

Federation (for National Societies)
Tel: +41 22 730 42 33

Concert in Sarajevo

Taking into account the complexity of women's experience in armed conflicts, the ICRC has urged for increased attention to their suffering and specific needs. A comprehensive study was initiated two years ago in view of raising awareness of the situation of women in wartime. In order to promote this study in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ICRC organized a conference in Sarajevo with political and cultural officials as well as families of missing people. A concert took place on this occasion, performed by well-known actresses and musicians from both Bosnian entities, who were supported by their colleagues from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Sarajevo opera diva, Gertura Munitic (photo), became involved in addressing the suffering women through the experience of the recent war that she had lived through; her colleagues, a tenor from Novi Sad, a string chamber orchestra from Banja Luka and actresses Selma Alispahic and Ljiljana Cekic, gave their best to make this concert a success. Immortal musical scores of Bach, Albinoni, Uhlik, Handel, Strauss, Puccini and Verdi, were performed.

Drought in southern Africa

Over 4 million people in southern Africa face a serious food shortage caused by drought and flooding that disrupted agricultural activities, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are hardest hit, but Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland also are struggling to prevent widespread hunger. A combination of natural disasters and high maize prices have forced hundreds of thousands of people in these countries to depend on outside food aid for survival, says the World Food Programme (WFP).

International relief agencies are working to prevent the crisis from getting worse. The Federation sent out assessment teams to Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and made an appeal for increased support. Additionally, a group of relief organizations, including the American Red Cross, plans to distribute 80,000 tonnes of corn, corn-soy blend and beans.

But WFP warned in a report: "While the upcoming harvest should make maize more available and affordable, many people remain weakened and impoverished by one of the worst periods of pre-harvest hunger in years."

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