Annan urges all countries to adopt International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute
On the fourth anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged States to ratify this key weapon against genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.
In a message to a ceremony in Rome marking the milestone, Mr. Annan said that with 76 countries now party to the Statute, “It is crucial that the world community continue on this journey until full universality of the Statute is realized; and until all States that need assistance to modify their Constitutions and procedural laws to ensure compatibility with the Rome Statute receive that assistance.”
The fact that the Statute has already entered into force – and that the ICC would be operational “earlier than many dared to expect” – marked a triumph for the rule of law in international relations, the Secretary-General said in the message, which was delivered on his behalf by UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell.
“It is an affirmation of the enduring validity of the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and it represents the culmination of a united effort in which governments and civil society worked together in the pursuit of the common good,” he added.
Mr. Annan said the “exciting but challenging journey” ahead was part of a wider quest for a peaceful and just world. “We have an individual and collective responsibility to do our utmost to reach that destination,” he stressed.