First Review Conference of the ICC Rome Statute: States must renew their commitment to accountability

Kampala, 31 May 2010 – The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) attends today the opening of the first Review Conference of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). During this Conference, States Parties to this Statute will consider proposals for amendement to the ICC founding treaty. This important event will bring together representatives of intergovernmental organisations and hundreds of non-governmental organisations. All actors present at the gathering will also undertake an evaluation of the work and the impact of the ICC and States Parties on four themes: the impact of the Statute on victims and affected communities; the relation between peace and justice; the role of States in prosecuting international crimes at national level, and their cooperation with the Court. FIDH calls on States and all relevant actors to reaffirm their commitment to support the ICC in its global fight against impunity for the most serious crimes.

The Review Conference will enable participants to assess the accomplishments and shortcomings of the first years of implementation of the ICC Statute, with a view to improving the functioning and effectiveness of the Court and States in the fight against impunity.

Firstly, FIDH recommends that the interest of victims of the worst atrocities be at the heart of the discussions. States should recall the central role of victims in the struggle for justice and reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the rights of victims at the international and national levels.

In addition, FIDH calls up States to acknowledge the central role of justice in peace-building processes, and that accountability should never be compromised in the search for peace.

Further, States must recall that they retain primary responsibility to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for the most serious crimes. In this regard, FIDH urges States to adopt effective and comprehensive legislation incorporating the provisions of the ICC Statute into domestic law. Such legislation should also allow States to try perpetrators of international crimes committed abroad, under the universal jurisdiction principle. The ICC and other actors should envisage mechanisms to repond adequately to the overwhelming lack of political will to bring perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, to account.

Furthermore, FIDH urges States Parties to provide unconditional assistance to the Court, including all necessary diplomatic and political support. The Court cannot operate without States’ cooperation. In this regard, FIDH notes that States are not living up to their obligation to fully cooperate with the Court.

Finally, in relation to the proposed amendments to the Statute, FIDH recommends the deletion of Article 124 (a transitional provision which has allowed States to defer the ICC jurisdiction with respect to war crimes). The prohibition to use certain weapons in non-international armed conflicts should be adopted, in accordance with international humanitarian law. Last but not least, any provision that States will adopt with respect to the crime of aggression must be respectful of the Court’s independence.

For more information on the Review Conference and FIDH position, please refer to the FIDH Position Paper: “ICC Review Conference: Renewing Commitment to Accountability"

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