The Hague Institute for Global Justice together with the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark organized a seminar entitled “From Ratification to Action: The Importance of Full Implementation of the Rome Statute” on Wednesday 16 September. The seminar commenced with welcoming remarks by the President of The Hague Institute, Dr. Abiodun Williams, and introductory remarks by the Ambassador of Denmark, H.E. Ole Moesby.
The President of the ICC, Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi, delivered a keynote address which emphasized the importance of mobilizing States Parties to be more active with respect to the full implementation of the Rome Statute, stating that “words must be followed by action”.
The subsequent discussion panel was moderated by Dr. Lyal S. Sunga, Head of the Rule of Law Program at The Hague Institute. Dr. Sunga opened the discussion with some preliminary remarks that drew comparisons between the widespread ratification of international human rights treaties on the one hand and their subsequent uneven implementation, with the attitude of many States towards the Rome Statute. Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan of the ICC offered a regional perspective to the discussion by addressing how and why Asian states are underrepresented in the ICC system. Dr. Rod Rastan, Legal Advisor in the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC, referred to internal and external aspects of universality and clarified the requirements that States Parties hold. For example, he mentioned how States Parties have to keep up with implementation obligations, such as the passing of domestic legislation, issuance of arrest warrants and securing of testimony by video-link. Ms. Romina Morello, Programme Officer for the International Law and Human Rights Programme at Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) then explained the challenges and opportunities for full implementation of the Rome Statute and the important role Parliamentarians have to play in this regard. She referred to the non-participation of major geopolitical Powers, widespread misinterpretation of the Rome Statute, and the urgent need for the requisite capacity building to try international crimes at the national level.
Cyprus and Denmark as co-focal points of the Assembly of States Parties for Universality and Full implementation of the Rome Statute will continue to support the ICC and the full implementation of the Rome Statute by its States Parties. The Hague Institute willcontinue to work on the full implementation of the Rome Statute, particularly by means of capacity-building so that states can adequately try international crimes domestically.