What is World Day for International Justice?
Every year on 17 July, the World Day for International Justice is observed all around the world. The day is used to promote the work and efforts of the International Criminal Court in administering international criminal justice. The day has been successful enough to attract international news attention and to draw the world’s attention to issues such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and other war crimes.
What is the International Criminal Court?
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. It has the jurisdiction (ie power) to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The ICC is the first international justice mechanism of its kind in the world.
All the countries that agree to adopt the Rome Statute accept the jurisdiction of the ICC with regard to the prosecution of very serious crimes. The idea is not for the ICC to replace national courts. It’s only able to intervene when a country can’t or won’t carry out investigations and prosecute perpetrators.
The ICC is a reminder that those who grossly violate human rights or international humanitarian laws have no safe haven and can be held fully accountable for their actions. These crimes can include systematic murder, torture, rape, enforced disappearance, enslavement, and destruction of property.
What is the Rome Statute?
The Rome Statute is an international treaty that serves as the ICC’s foundational document. States that become party to (ie agree to abide by) the Rome Statute become member states of the ICC. As of September 2023, there are 123 states that are party to the Rome Statute and members of the ICC.
Why was 17 July chosen as World Day for International Justice?
17 July was chosen because it is the anniversary of the original adoption of the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the International Criminal Court.
What is the aim of International Justice Day?
International Justice Day aims to unite everyone who wants to support justice. It also promotes victims’ rights. It supports the prevention of crimes and the management of individuals that put the peace, security, and well-being of the world at risk.
Delivering international justice is important
It sends a strong message around the world that human rights violations and crimes against humanity will not be tolerated and that perpetrators will be held accountable.
However, the last century has been the bloodiest in human history, with hundreds of millions of casualties incurred and instances of mass rape, forced expulsion, disappearances, torture, slavery, and other assaults on human dignity. We need to remind ourselves of the goal of ensuring that events like these never happen again.