15 November 2011 The head of the International Criminal Court (ICC) called for the creation of more synergies between the international justice and development spheres, citing the devastating effects of conflicts and large-scale violence on development.
“Any efforts to help a society regain health, wealth and capacity to profit from its own resources must include accountability for past atrocities and strengthening of the rule of law,” said ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song.
Speaking at the opening of the 2011 Law, Justice and Development Week in Washington D.C. yesterday, Judge Song stressed the importance of synergies between general justice reforms and more specific development efforts to address atrocity crimes.
“Where impunity is allowed to reign, it leaves a desire for vengeance among populations who have been victims of massive crimes, and provides fertile ground for the recurrence of conflicts,” he said.
According to this year’s World Development Report, the average cost of civil war is equivalent to more than 30 years of gross domestic product (GDP) growth for a medium-sized developing economy, making it essential for various sectors to collaborate among themselves to ensure peace and economic development go hand in hand.
During his speech, Judge Song appealed to development agencies to support the empowerment of national jurisdictions to prosecute and prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. He also provided examples of how international justice organizations can help improve the living conditions of those affected by conflict and violence.
Judge Song pointed to the Trust Fund for Victims set up by the ICC, which empowers war victims through its provisions and helps them obtain sustainable livelihoods, making it an important element that complements humanitarian and developmental initiatives.
Judge Song emphasized that the collaboration between the justice and development sectors needs to be structured to ensure long-term stability in countries.
“Lasting peace and prosperity in post-conflict societies can only be achieved if development challenges and justice enforcement are addressed in a coordinated manner,” he said.
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