Fatou Bensouda Reception

 On September 21, 2012 Jonathan Fanton introduced Fatou Bensouda, the new Prosecutor of the ICC at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. 

Fatou Bensouda Reception

September 21, 2012

Good evening. I am Jonathan Fanton, Interim Director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the historic home of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. This reception is in honor of Fatou Bensouda, the new Prosecutor of the ICC who has been meeting here with the Coalition for the ICC. We are pleased to co-host this reception with the Coalition and in a moment its convenor, Bill Pace, will introduce the Prosecutor for brief remarks.

We have many distinguished guests here this evening but let me call out just a few:

  • Louise Arbour, the  (handwriting) former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, now President and CEO of the International Crisis Group
  • Aryeh Neier, the founding Director of Human Rights Watch and long-time President of the Soros Foundation, who has done so much to strengthen the emerging system of International Justice
  • Christian Wenaweser, the Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and
  • Bruno Stagno Ugarte, also a former president of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, as well as the previous Minister of Foreign Relations of Costa Rica and the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations.

It is appropriate that the Coalition for the ICC meets in the historic homes of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and Franklin’s mother, Sara. The committee that developed the Commission on Human Rights met at Hunter College in 1946. And its chair was Eleanor Roosevelt who led the process of drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She served as the first US representative for the new Commission. As Eleanor said in December 1948, “We stand today at the threshold of a great event in the life of the UN and in the life of mankind… the approval by the General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights … this declaration may well become the international Magna Carta….”

This is the place that Eleanor and Franklin lived from 1908 until they went to the White House. It was here that Eleanor deepened her social conscience, learned about people in poverty, came to understand that discrimination was real and pervasive and fired her passion for defending the human rights of people everywhere.

When Sara died in 1941 Franklin and Eleanor made a donation so Hunter could purchase the house. The houses were an interfaith student center until they closed in 1992 in disrepair. Under the leadership of President Jennifer Raab they were restored and opened in 2010 as the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. The Institute offers two undergraduate programs, one in public policy and the other in human rights and international justice. I am pleased that some of our students and faculty are here tonight. Because of the Roosevelts, we feel a deep connection to the UN and other international organizations and are pleased to offer a rich variety of public programs, for example, Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, Louis Moreno OCampo, Lousie Arbour to mention just a few of our speakers in the last two years.

We are especially happy to work with Bill Pace who has been and extraordinary leader of the Coalition for the ICC. The Coalition has done so much to rally support in countries around the world to speed the ratification of the Rome Treaty, now ratified by 121 countries and signed by 139 nations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Bill Pace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s