On 30 January 2013, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Judge Sang-Hyun Song delivered a keynote speech at the Special Olympics Global Development Summit on Ending the Cycle of Poverty and Exclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities in Pyeongchang, South Korea. President Song also held meetings with H.E. Joyce Banda, President of Malawi, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the margins.
President Song stated that the Olympic tradition has “helped change public attitudes in many of our societies, encouraging much greater inclusion, understanding and respect for those of us who live with disability.” The President expressed his strong support for the Special Olympics and discussed the mutually reinforcing relationship between development, the rule of law, and the rights of the most vulnerable members of society. He underlined the key role that the ICC plays in this regard as one of the most recent additions to the international legal system.
In his meeting with President Banda, President Song conveyed the ICC’s gratitude for Malawi’s strong support since the country’s ratification of the Rome Statute in 2002. President Song and President Banda discussed ways in which to enhance international cooperation in the struggle against impunity and the continued challenges of bringing fugitives to justice.
During his meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President Song expressed his admiration for her life’s work and struggle for human rights, which has set an example for all those who strive for the same cause. President Song and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also discussed the importance of a well-functioning judiciary in national systems for addressing and preventing atrocity crimes.
The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.