Press Release :

Statement by the International Criminal Court on the passing of Nelson Mandela


The International Criminal Court (ICC) joins with the people of South Africa, the African Continent and as well as the international community in mourning the passing of Mr Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa and a global voice for justice and equality.

It was on 17 July 1998, during Mr Mandela’s Presidency, that South Africa became one of the first ten signatories of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. “We have sought to ensure that the ICC is guaranteed independence and bestowed with adequate powers. Our own continent has suffered enough horrors emanating from the inhumanity of human beings towards human beings. Who knows, many of these might not have occurred, or at least been minimised, had there been an effectively functioning International Criminal Court”, he said.

Even during his 27 years of imprisonment, Mr Mandela never lost hope that a transformation from injustice to justice would take place in South Africa and around the globe. His long walk to freedom changed the world forever and millions of people from diverse backgrounds and life situations celebrate and recognize his significance in the shaping of a more humane global citizenry. Mr Mandela acknowledged the importance of an international court in that process, as well as its potential for the prevention of future human suffering.

While the cascade of justice has yet to spread everywhere, the spirit of Mr Mandela continues to inspire us to reach that goal, and the ICC continues its work to help prevent impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern and to realise a safer future for all.

Though the world has lost one of its greatest architects of justice, freedom and equality, his legacy remains profound and lasting. 

For further information, please contact Oriane Maillet, Associate Public Affairs Officer, Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, at: + 31 (0) 70 515 9294 and + 31 (0) 64 644 8914 or by e-mail at: [email protected] .

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