On July 1st, the ICC celebrated its 5th anniversary. As of 1st January 2007 an impressive 104 States have signed the Rome Statute of the ICC. Considering the rather controversial nature of the “ICC-project”, namely the prosecution of persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, i.e. genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, this number is indeed strong. The Secretary General issued the following statement on the occasion.
1 July 2007 marks the fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The creation of the Court represents one of the major achievements in international law during the past century. Since the entry into force of the Rome Statute, the Court has completed an important transition from the set-up phase to the commencement of its judicial functions.
During the relatively short time of its existence, the Court has already established itself as the centerpiece of a system of international criminal justice. It is both the embodiment of, and the driving force behind, a profound evolution of international culture and law. The establishment of the ICC constitutes a unique opportunity to hold accountable those responsible for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and to bring an end to impunity. Already the activities of the Court and its Prosecutor have a deterring effect on potential perpetrators of international crimes.
Today, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has 104 States Parties continuously making progress towards the Court’s eventual goal of universal jurisdiction. On the occasion of the Court’s fifth anniversary, I wish to join the General Assembly in calling on States from all regions of the world that are not yet parties to the Rome Statute to consider becoming a party to it.