On 8 July, The Hague Institute welcomed the international community for the third celebration of International Criminal Justice Day. On July 17, 2013, it will have been exactly fifteen years ago that the world united at a conference in Italy that produced the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The day marks a milestone in our history, as it created an international permanent court to prosecute people accused of committing the most heinous human rights violations and international crimes.
At this year’s commemoration, remarks were offered by Her Excellency Ambassador Tina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, and Her Excellency Vesela Mrden Korac, Ambassador of Croatia and Facilitator of The Hague Working Group on Strategic Planning. Both emphasized the importance of the international community to renew its commitment to criminal justice around the globe, and particularly, to the provisions outlined in the Rome Statute.
Her Excellency Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, discussed the sustained need for combatting a culture of impunity and ensuring greater criminal accountability. She highlighted three of the ICC’s greatest achievements: (1) the progress vis-à-vis the pursuit of international criminal justice; (2) the incorporation of victims’ needs and rights during that process; and (3) the palpable impact the Rome Statute has had on the national level. Her Excellency also reiterated the imperative for better cooperation between States and the international body, in addition to enhanced perceptions of the court’s impartiality, credibility and fairness. Nevertheless, Her Excellency insisted that these challenges were, in fact, surmountable, and that a just and more peaceful world was possible.
The celebration was concluded by a musical performance by Dr. Eugenio Matos and Vladin Kulisic and remarks by His Excellency Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the ICC.