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Annan to visit Europe, mark 60th ratification of International Criminal Court Statute

Annan to visit Europe, mark 60th ratification of International Criminal Court Statute

The United Nations has scheduled ceremonies next week in New York and in Rome, where Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be as part of his upcoming visit to Europe, to mark the final four ratifications needed to bring into force a treaty establishing an International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to a UN spokesman in New York, the Secretary-General is expected to participate in an event on 11 April to mark the 60th ratification of the Rome Statute. A treaty event will also be held on the same day at UN Headquarters in New York for delegations, the media and other interested parties.

The treaty, which has 56 ratifications so far, will enter into force on 1 July. The Hague-based Court will consist of 18 judges, as well as prosecutors and investigators, and has jurisdiction over such crimes as genocide, war crimes, the crime of aggression and crimes against humanity.

The Court will not be part of the United Nations, and will be accountable to countries that ratify the Statute. Those countries have agreed to prosecute individuals accused of such crimes under their own laws, or to surrender them to the Court for trial.

Before arriving in Rome, Mr. Annan is scheduled to depart New York on Friday for an official visit to Spain, during which the Secretary-General is expected to open the Second UN World Assembly on Ageing on 8 April in Madrid, the spokesman told a press briefing.

From Spain, the Secretary-General will travel to Rome to first attend a meeting from 10 to 11 April of the UN's 26-member Chief Executive Board (formerly the Administrative Committee for Coordination) before participating in the Rome Statute event.

The Board meeting, which brings together the executive heads of specialized agencies, Bretton Woods institutions and the UN's funds and programmes, will focus on the follow-up to the Millennium Declaration, particularly the treatment and prevention of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, as well as system-wide support for African development, the spokesman said.

After his activities in Rome, the Secretary-General will travel to Geneva to deliver an address on 12 April to the Commission on Human Rights at the Palais des Nations.