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International Beach Operation: The Hague
2 September 2002
29 January 2003
In answer to the so-called 'The Hague Invasion Act', Dutch citizens have organized a civil defense militia. Their objective is not to fight a US Invasion Force, but to raise awareness about the way the US are trying to undermine the ICC. After six months of local actions on the beaches of Holland, they now seek help for an extensive, international operation to put the ICC back into the spotlight. Inaugural ceremony On March 11th Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will host the first official meeting of the ICC in The Hague. Prominent guests from all over the world are invited to be present at the inaugural ceremony where the first elected judges and Prosecutor will be sworn in. As this is an important step towards the establishment of a fully functional court, the ceremony is announced as a joyful celebration
Unfortunately there is very little to be cheerful about, for the existence of the ICC is still seriously challenged by the USA. In fact the Bush administration has recently stepped up its offensive against the ICC by pressuring more countries to sign bilateral impunity agreements. Due to the technical nature of these so-called Article 98 agreements, few people realize how serious a threat they are to the legitimacy - and hence the effectiveness - of the ICC. The people who do realize how the current strategy of the State Department imperils the ICC, are having a hard time explaining this to the general public. It's all too technical, too abstract and too invisible. And so, through lack of drama, the present diplomatic war of the US against the ICC gets largely obscured by events that offer more suspense - like the impending war on Iraq.
Operation ALL4-JUSTICE-4ALL The Hogerhand People's Front is now preparing an extensive operation which should put the ICC back into the spotlight. On the very day that the international media are gathered in The Hague for the inaugural ceremony, they will hold a visual display of the willingness of ordinary people to defend the ICC. As citizens from all over the world are taking part, the operation is aptly named 'operation ALL4-JUSTICE-4ALL'.
The idea is to build a 3000 feet defensive wall on the beach of The Hague. This wall will consist of almost 100 bulwarks - one for every country that has ratified the Rome Statute. Each bulwark is constituted of a pile of sandbags behind which a couple of dummy-soldiers are standing guard. The faces of the dummy-soldiers are those of citizens from the respective countries. Each nation's bulwark will of course fly its own flag. International operation The building starts on February 26th and will take about two weeks to complete. All NGOs are invited to send a delegation to The Hague to build their own bulwark. If this is practically not feasible, then a nation's bulwark will be built by volunteers in The Hague - preferably expatriates or refugees residing in the Netherlands.
As most press agencies have correspondents in The Hague, NGOs may decide to turn the construction of their national bulwark into a media event that will generate publicity for their local ICC campaign - for instance by inviting a local celebrity to raise the flag above their nation's bulwark. Through these modest events the international press is slowly prepared for the conclusive act on March 11th.
On the day of the inaugural ceremony the beach of The Hague will offer the impressive sight of a 3000 foot defensive wall, guarded by an international army of dummy-soldiers. This will be the dramatic backdrop for the final act: the construction of the American bulwark. This last bulwark will be built by representatives of the American organizations that campaign against the anti-ICC policy of their government. It will stand all by itself - right in front of the defensive wall. When finally the Stars and Stripes are being raised, the international media is thus served up with a profound symbolic image: delegations of 100 nations that are literary backing up the Americans who dare to stand up in defense of the ICC. The joint effort to create this image, demonstrates how international justice is a common interest of the world community - a community that clearly wishes to include the USA.