October 18, 2005

Against All Impunity

The statute of the permanent International Criminal Court was adopted on July 17th, 1998 during a conference organized by the United Nations in Rome. 120 member States voted for it, 7 against it and another 21 abstained. The threshold of 60 ratifications, the legal requirement for setting up an international criminal court, was reached barely four years later. On April 11th, 2002, ten new member States ratified the Rome Statute, raising the number of ratifications to 66. The International Criminal Court thus came into existence and began its functions on July 1st, 2002, in compliance with Article 126 of the Statute. The inaugural session of the Court was held on March 11th, 2003, during which the 18 judges elected on February 7th, 2003 took oath. Effective commencement occurred on June 16th, 2003, when Luis Moreno Ocampo, elected prosecutor on April 21st, assumed his functions. To date, 97 countries have ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. And the Court has already been addressed by 3 countries for crimes committed on their territory during violent acts that caused the death of thousands of victims: Uganda in December 2003, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in April 2004 and the Central African Republic in January 2005.