13 years ago, on July 17, 1998
2002, the Rome Statute came into effect, enabling the creation of the International Criminal Court. A few years later, signers of the Statute designated July 17 as International Justice Day, a day to all come together and celebrate the advances made in international justice – and reflect on ways in which we can strengthen the system and ensure no crimes are left unpunished.
Today, 116 countries have ratified the Rome Statute and are members of the ICC. To date, three states – Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic – have referred situations in their countries to the Court, the Prosecutor of the ICC has initiated an investigation in Kenya, and the UN Security Council has referred the situations in Darfur, Sudan and Libya to the Court. The Prosecutor is also in the process of conducting preliminary investigations in several countries, including Colombia and Cote d’Ivoire.
Meanwhile, trials are winding down at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is expected to render a verdict in the Charles Taylor case in the next few months, the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, which are expected to wind down in 2012 and 2013 respectively .
Nevertheless, there remains much to be done to ensure that crimes worldwide are not left unpunished. Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir and Libyan Head of State Colonel M’uammar al-Gaddafi, both of whom have been indicted by the ICC, remain in power and continue to commit crimes with impunity. And in countries such as Sri Lanka and Colombia, little is being done to ensure that victims of crimes have access to justice and accountability.
There are several way you can take action today to celebrate international justice and help bring an end to impunity.
Tweet for International Justice!
Use the #17July hashtag and let us know what #IntlJusticeDay means to you on Twitter.
Take Online Action!
Sudanese President Al Bashir is still free … despite an arrest warrant issued over two years by the ICC. Help Amnesty call on the US to pledge to support the Sudan cases and to help bring Al Bashir to justice.
Watch a Documentary!
Link TV will be airing a special presentation of excerpts from the film, The Reckoning, which details the creation of the ICC and its efforts to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Tune in at 3p PT/6p ET on DirecTV Channel 375 or Dish Channel 9410, or online.