In the Declaration of the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law, Member States stated their commitment to ensuring that impunity is not tolerated for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity or for violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations of human rights law. They also committed to ensuring that such violations are properly investigated and appropriately sanctioned, including by bringing the perpetrators of any crimes to justice, through national mechanisms or, where appropriate, regional or international mechanisms, in accordance with international law
The United Nations has made substantial strides in developing a global accountability framework for serious international crimes. The ad hoc international criminal tribunals, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, set up by the Security Council, paved the way for the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Alongside the Court, United Nations tribunals and the tribunals assisted by the United Nations, such as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Special Court and the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone and the United Nations Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals have collectively advanced accountability issues in a broad variety of areas, and address a range of legacy issues.
The primary responsibility for ensuring prosecution for serious international crimes and other gross violations of human rights lies with Member States. That is one of the core principles underpinning the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In the Declaration of the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law, Member States recognized the role of the ICC in a multilateral system that aims to end impunity and establish the rule of law [para.23]. The ICC is the first independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Relevant Documents and Links
- International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
- International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
- United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals
- Special Court for Sierra Leone
- Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
- Special Tribunal for Lebanon
- International Criminal Court
- Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone/Special Court of Sierra Leone