Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A New Era of Justice

On Wednesday, June 17th, communities around the world celebrated International Justice Day (IJD). This is the landmark day on which the international community adopted the Rome Statute of 1998 at a United Nations (UN) conference, the treaty which created the International Criminal Court (ICC). The treaty itself entered into force on July 1, 2002, following the required 60th ratification.

IJD provides an opportunity to reflect upon how international justice has progressed in the 15 years since the Court’s inception; it also reminds us to consider the challenges that the ICC faces as it matures into this new era in its life. Today, of the 139 states that have signed the Rome Statute, 122 have ratified or acceded to it. 18 cases in eight situations have been brought before the Court. Arrest warrants have been issued for 21 people and summonses for nine. Five are in custody; and one, Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, has been found guilty by the Court.

Unfortunately, as the ICC now reaches this new phase of maturity, it must prepare to face a new host of obstacles. With increasing political pressure, financial strain, and issues of enforcement; the list of potential threats to the Court - and to international justice in general - is seemingly endless. How will the Court respond to the challenges it faces? Will Fatou Bensouda, current ICC Prosecutor succeeding Luis Moreno Ocampo, be able to steer the Court’s prosecutions in the right direction? 15 years from now, having celebrated IJD 2028, what will we have to say about the current efforts towards international justice by the ICC and the international community?
The answers to these questions will come with time. For now, read our article A New Era of Justice, to reflect upon and appreciate this exciting and dynamic new era for international justice.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wise Souls and Noble Goals: The UN's commemoration of International Justice Day

Ambassador Stephen Rapp, John Washburn, William Pace

The American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court was proud to commemorate International Justice Day on Wednesday July 17th at the United Nations. AMICC’s Convener, John Washburn, was invited to speak on a panel on the subject of the future of Global Criminal Justice. Other speakers at the event included Ambassador Stephen Rapp, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice, William Pace, the Convener of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and Ambassador Richard Williamson, the former Special Envoy to Sudan under President George W. Bush. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ready for that Close-Up: The International Criminal Court's Recent Representations on Film

            By David Benger

Filmmakers have recently revived their interest in the International Criminal Court. A film called “The Court” has just been completed and released in Germany. The Economist’s blog summarizes the film as a “fascinating documentary about the pioneering work of the [ICC].” The summary is wrong in calling the ICC the “first world court” and is incorrect about the reach of the ICC’s jurisdiction, but gives an excellent overview of the film itself. 
[An image from the promotional materials for "The Court"]          

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

International Justice Day: Giving Victims a Voice

Below is a brief summary of the remarks to be delivered by AMICC's Convenor, John Washburn, at the International Justice Day symposium at the United Nations on July 17, 2013

The International Criminal Court’s birthday calls with demanding power on the “conscience of humanity”. Victims no longer need to mourn that no one cares, no one knows. They see that neither power nor high position has protected the person most responsible for their torment from the Court. When the ICC convicts and decides, it declares to the world: “Here are the facts; here is what happened in this atrocity, in this crime. You cannot deny it; you cannot evade it; you cannot ignore it. You must acknowledge it.” All countries must lend their strength to this declaration by joining the Court – especially the United States.