Reflecting on 25 Years of the Rome Statute: Advancing International Criminal Justice

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On July 17th, we commemorate a significant milestone that symbolizes our commitment to justice and the protection of human rights worldwide. It is the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998, the foundational treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). This treaty holds immense importance in safeguarding individuals from the most severe crimes known to humanity, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

The Rome Statute, a testament to our collective dedication to justice, created the ICC as a permanent international court responsible for prosecuting individuals accountable for these grave offenses. Throughout the years, the ICC has made substantial progress in delivering justice and ensuring accountability. It has conducted investigations and prosecuted cases that would have otherwise gone unpunished, shedding light on atrocities committed in different parts of the world.

Coinciding with this anniversary is the celebration of International Criminal Justice Day. This day serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of justice, victims’ rights, and the prevention of crimes that jeopardize global peace, security, and well-being. It brings together individuals, organizations, and nations who share the common goal of upholding justice and ensuring that those responsible for heinous acts are held accountable.

The ICC has played a pivotal role in advancing international criminal justice. It has provided a platform for victims to voice their suffering and seek redress, granting them the opportunity to be heard and have their rights acknowledged. By prosecuting perpetrators, the ICC acts as a deterrent against future crimes and contributes to the establishment of a more just and peaceful world.

However, challenges persist in the pursuit of international criminal justice. The ICC encounters obstacles in its investigations and prosecutions, ranging from limited resources to political pressures. It is imperative that we stand united in supporting the ICC and strengthening national legal systems to ensure effective cooperation and genuine accountability.

On this occasion, it is crucial to reflect on the achievements thus far and renew our commitment to the principles enshrined in the Rome Statute. In the past year, the ICC has witnessed significant progress in ongoing trial proceedings, reparations implementation, and cooperation efforts.[1] Key developments include ongoing trials in several cases, the implementation of reparations, appeals chamber judgments, the pre-trial division addressing various situations, positive cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor, joining the Joint Investigation Team in Ukraine, challenges in obtaining assistance, access to sensitive information, technological innovations, complementarity initiatives, and supporting national proceedings in Libya.[2]

Looking ahead to 2023, notable developments include the issuance of arrest warrants for individuals allegedly involved in grave international crimes in Ukraine[3], launching a public consultation to renew the policy paper on crimes affecting children[4], resuming the investigation into the situation in the Philippines due to inadequate relevant investigations, and establishing an in-country office in Venezuela to enhance cooperation and advance justice and accountability.[5]

These developments reflect the ICC’s continuous efforts to address international crimes, hold individuals accountable, protect vulnerable populations, and strengthen cooperation with states and other stakeholders. We must persist in advocating for justice, protecting the rights of victims, and working towards preventing future crimes. Through these actions, we can contribute to a world where impunity has no place and where human rights are upheld for all.

As we celebrate the anniversary of the Rome Statute and International Criminal Justice Day, let us remember the significance of collective action and collaboration. Together, we can ensure that justice is not merely an ideal but a reality. Let us honor the victims and survivors by standing up against injustice and working towards a future where peace, security, and justice prevail.

[1] 2022 Report of the Court on Key Performance Indicators: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/

[2] Ibid




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Reflecting on 25 Years of the Rome Statute: Advancing International Criminal Justice