Speakers frankly described both the ICC’s difficulties and its achievements in celebrating International Justice Day at the UN on July 17. ICC president Judge Sang-Hyun Song and Ambassador Tiina Intelmann , president of the Court’s ’s Assembly of States Parties, detailed, among other subjects the Court’s carrying out of the founding values it shares with the United Nations, its commitment to punish and deter atrocities, its successful completion of its first cases, and its progress in involving victims in its work. Their praise framed unusually frank statements of the Court’s problems as it starts fully functioning. They especially emphasized in describing relations with member states the failure to enforce the Court’s arrest warrants, inadequate resources to carry the Court’s currently full case load, and reluctance to give the Court political support –especially in the face of attacks on it. The speakers were clear that the ICC itself bears much of the responsibility for these failings.
This candor actually made the celebration stronger and more profound. This candor by two senior officials showed the health of the Court in being able to constructively criticize itself as well its member states. The audience came to see the Court of course as an object of approval, but even more as an institution actively improving itself.
Written by John Washburn