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My First Meeting for FENICC

by Dave Chapman, UU-UNO Envoy First UU Fellowship of Hunterdon County The announcement and invitation read, “Ryan Smith from the Presbyterian United Nations Office will be speaking on the importance of an interfaith presence at the ICC.  Join us for this interfaith dialogue on the International Criminal Court.” “Hmmmm,” I ruminated.  “Sounds interesting.”   As my congregation’s Envoy to our Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO), I thought it would be exciting and educational to attend this meeting.  And besides, I have some friends who work at our United Nations Office and I wanted an excuse to visit with them.  Oh, yes, I almost forgot to mention, there’s a farmers’ market a couple of blocks from the office that offers the most remarkable cheesecake. No doubt about it, I had my duty to do. The UU-UNO is is a fervent supporter in the effort to have the United States Senate ratify the Rome Statutes, which created the International Criminal Court.  This effort is joined by our interfaith partners at the Faith and Ethics Network for the International Criminal Court (FENICC).  The Executive Director of the UU-UNO, Bruce Knotts, is also the Chair of the US Faith and Ethics Network for the ICC.  Bruce is a retired United States career diplomat, and in addition to being a very urbane man and a natty dresser, he has made an art form of mustering the energies and talents of many groups and individuals to form an effective force for the enforcement of human rights and the peaceful settlement of international conflicts.  For a diplomatic novice like me, it was an exciting experience and well worth the visit. Some of the people attending the discussion were Matthew Heaphy, the Deputy Convener of the American Non-Government Organizations’ Coalition (AMICC) for the International Criminal Court, John Washburn, the Convener of the American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and Ryan Smith from the Presbyterian United Nations Office, who gave the keynote address to the conference. In their determination to make the International Criminal Court a viable and publicly supported resource for justice, I was impressed by the intensity and sincerity of the people who met at this conference, shared ideas and gave one another support and encouragement to continue their efforts until this great goal is met.
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