Today, 31 October 2016, the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi told the United Nations General Assembly that in order to bring perpetrators of crimes to justice and protect victims across the world, the participation of States in the Court must be maintained and enlarged.
In her annual report to the General Assembly, President Fernández detailed the unprecedented judicial activity of the Court in 2015-2016, including three judgements issued and two trials held in their entirety. Two trials are now ongoing, a third one is set to start soon and reparations proceedings are underway following convictions in four cases. A total of ten situations are under investigation by the Court, the latest one opened on 27 January 2016 in Georgia.
Referring to recent announcements of withdrawals from the Court, President Fernández underlined the importance of the continued commitment of States and the international community to fight impunity and foster the rule of law.
"The last two decades have witnessed huge progress in the consolidation of international criminal justice as a fundamental part of the international community's response to conflicts and mass atrocities", she said. "In 1998, the ICC was created by countries and with the support of civil society from all continents to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by whomever committed. In creating the Court as a permanent and independent judicial institution, States recognised the link between justice, peace, and sustainable development, and reaffirmed their commitment to fight impunity."
President Fernández underlined that "the Court was not created to replace or compete with States. On the contrary, States have the duty and indeed the right to investigate and prosecute these crimes themselves in the first place. The role of the Court it to provide justice only when States fail to do so".
"Since its creation, the Court has made significant achievements in addressing crimes of concern to the international community as a whole such as the use of child soldiers, sexual violence in conflict, attacks on civilians and the destruction of cultural property", she said. "Crucially, the creation of the ICC has given a voice to victims, who have the possibility to participate in the Court's proceedings and to request reparations. The Trust Fund for Victims associated with the Court has already assisted more than 300.000 victims with physical and psychological rehabilitation as well as material support."
"The Court is doing its work", she concluded, and recalled that the Court "has embarked in a number of important reforms to enhance the speed and quality of prosecutions and judicial proceedings. The important results achieved this year are a clear demonstration of the Court's commitment to deliver high quality justice".
Presentation of the Court's annual report to the UN General Assembly by Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court – 31 October 2016
Report of the International Criminal Court to the United Nations for 2015/2016
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