At ICC review conference, nations reaffirm commitment to Rome Statute

Panel discussion on impact of the Rome Statute system on victims and affected communities

2 June 2010 – More than 80 nations have reaffirmed their commitment to the Rome Statue, which led to the founding of the International Criminal Court (ICC), emphasizing the crucial role of justice in achieving sustainable peace.

The so-called Kampala Declaration was adopted yesterday at the end of the general debate segment of the two-week-long ICC review conference under way in the Ugandan capital.

During the debate, 84 States, along with Palestine, international organizations and others, reiterated their support for the Court’s mission of tackling impunity, bringing justice to victims and deterring future atrocities.

In the Declaration, States underscored their determination to end impunity for perpetrators of the most serious crimes and pledged to enhance efforts to promote victims’ rights under the Rome Statute.

During the general debate, many delegations stressed that an amendment to the Statue to adopted to include the crime of aggression, the focus of the remainder of the Kampala conference.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is expected to discuss the gathering tomorrow.

So far 111 countries have become parties to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, while 37 others have signed but not yet ratified it. But some of the world’s largest and most powerful countries, including China, India, Russia and the United States, have not joined.

For the ICC to have the reach it needs, it must have universal support, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the start of the review conference on Monday. “Only then will perpetrators have no place to hide.”

More than one decade after the Court was set up, a new “age of accountability” is replacing the “old era of impunity,” he underlined.

Twelve years ago when world leaders gathering in Rome for its establishment, “few could have believed, then, that this court would spring so vigorously into life,” Mr. Ban said.

“Seldom since the founding of the United Nations itself has such a resounding blow been struck for peace, justice and human rights.”

The Kampala event, the Secretary-General said, marks an occasion to bolster “our collective determination that crimes of humanity cannot go unpunished.”

The new “age of accountability,” he noted, dawned with the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals, gaining strength with tribunals for Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Lebanon.

“Now we have the ICC – permanent, increasingly powerful, casting a long shadow. There is no going back,” Mr. Ban stressed.

“In this new age of accountability, those who commit the worst of human crimes” – be they rank-and-file foot soldiers or top political leaders – “will be held responsible.”


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