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ICC celebrates 25 years since the adoption of the Rome Statute

NEW YORK, JULY 17 – With Italy at the forefront, the United Nations celebrated today the International Day of Criminal Justice, commemorating the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC).

At a high-level event the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Maria Tripodi, will represent the Italian government. The forum was organized to mark the crucial date when, on July 17, 1998, the document laying the foundations for a permanent and universally effective international criminal tribunal was finally adopted. After intense discussions, which also involved numerous non-governmental organizations that supported the public opinion campaign for universal jurisdiction over international crimes, the Conference concluded at the FAO headquarters in Rome with the approval of the Statute with 120 votes in favor, 7 against, and 21 abstentions, and with the signing of the Final Act, open to all participating delegations. Four years later, the progressive ratifications of the Statute allowed reaching the quorum set by Article 126 (60 ratifications), making the text enter into force on July 1, 2002.

The Court represented a significant step forward in creating an effective international judicial system and affirming the principle of individual accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Currently, the Office of the Prosecutor, led by Karim Asad Ahmad Khan and based in The Hague, is conducting 31 trials, 14 investigative examinations, and 3 preliminary examinations. There are 13 outstanding arrest warrants for accused individuals at large. On March 17, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber II issued two arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Alekseevna L’vova-Belova, the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights. Just last week, Khan announced the opening of an investigation into war crimes committed in Sudan in the context of the current hostilities.

“The European Union will continue to demand that those responsible for the most serious crimes be brought to justice and held accountable. No one, regardless of who they are or where they are, should be able to escape justice,” said EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, on the eve of the anniversary, describing the adoption of the Rome Statute as a “significant step forward in the global fight against impunity.” Borrell noted that “while war rages on the European continent with the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, and in other regions of the world, including Sudan, Yemen, and Syria, a resilient and robust system of international criminal justice capable of addressing the most serious and shocking crimes is essential.” (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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