(Rome) - Human Rights Watch welcomed the speech of the president of the Egyptian Supreme Court Ahmed Medhat el-Maraghy yesterday at the conference to establish an International Criminal Court (ICC). 
 
But Human Rights Watch warned that Egypt's position on "reservations" to the treaty would seriously undermine the proposed court.  
 
In a speech before delegates from more than 150 countries in Rome, el-Maraghy expressed strong support for an ICC that would be independent of the United Nations Security Council. The ICC would have jurisdiction over future acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. El-Maraghy also expressed support for an independent prosecutor, who could begin investigations on his or her own initiative.  
 
But Egypt's position on "reservations" would allow countries to pick and choose which parts of the treaty to adhere to.  
 
"Egypt's position would allow for selective justice at the ICC," said Richard Dicker, who heads the ICC campaign for Human Rights Watch, an international monitoring organization based in New York. "But the ICC must be a forum for universal justice."  
 
Egypt is a member of the "like-minded" group of more than 50 countries, which supports a strong and independent court with one standard of justice for all. But as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, Egypt has tried to mobilize NAM members behind a court that would need the consent of individual states before a prosecution could get underway.  
 
"We urge Egypt to stick to the strong position of the like-minded group," said Dicker.  
 
The conference is expected to last until July 17 and produce a draft treaty for the ICC.