International Criminal Court becomes a reality

Following the simultaneous ratification by 10 more nations, the UN Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court will enter into force on 1 July 2002.

The UN Treaty that enters into force on 1 July 2002 will establish permanent jurisdiction for an international court over crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed after 1 July 2002. The elected members of the Court - judges, prosecutor and registrar - will most likely be appointed by spring 2003, after which the Court will become operational. Complaints will, however, already be accepted as from 1 July 2002.

Because many important States have yet to sign or ratify the agreement - including most Arab states, the US, China, India and Russia - some question over the Court's credibility remains. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, however, hailed the event, stating that "impunity has been dealt a decisive blow". The EU Council in an official statement added that "the European Union, which has actively contributed to the drafting, development and entry into force of the Rome Statute, reaffirms its commitment to support the early operation of the International Criminal Court in its seat at The Hague." In the US, senator Mr Henry Hyde slipped in a last-second amendment to the 'FY2002 Department of Defense Appropriations Act' that would prohibit any cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC).


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