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.

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