17 July is the Day of International Criminal Justice. It marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute on 17 July 1998, the founding treaty of the ICC.
"The progress of international criminal law is irreversible. Peace through justice is a timely goal, and it can be achieved if all countries, not only those who are already parties to the Rome Statute, subscribe to the ICC's noble aspirations and cooperate with it," said Christian Much, the Interim Director of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy.
19 years ago, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted. In the history of international criminal law and in the fight against impunity, this was a landmark achievement. The Rome Statute acknowledges the intrinsic link between justice and peace, embodies the idea that the rule of law can protect individuals and nations from massive atrocities, and confirms the Nuremberg Principles: Persons committing crimes under international law are liable to punishment in a fair trial, even when acting as Head of State or responsible government official.
The achievements of the ICC are encouraging, if measured against the enormous difficulties that the ICC is facing in practice. In 2018, the International Nuremberg Principles Academy will devote a large conference to a critical reflection on the work of the ICC. The Rome Statute has enriched the application of international criminal law beyond the ICC. Today, justice mechanisms dealing with war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression are operating in all parts of the world, inspired by the Rome Statute and drawing on the ICC's experiences.