Top UN rights official offers countries help with laws on International Criminal Court

Top UN rights official offers countries help with laws on International Criminal Court

Sergio Vieira de Mello
The top United Nations human rights official today pledged his Office's readiness to help countries with legislation that would enable judges to carry out national prosecutions under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"While we celebrate the establishment of the ICC, our work to eliminate impunity has to redouble and to continue to address the importance of national courts prosecuting international crimes," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello said in The Hague at the annual conference of the International Criminal Law Network.

"Impunity can only be properly conquered when the international and national actors work effectively together," he stressed.

As for the ICC itself, the High Commissioner noted that, among its achievements, the Court includes enforced disappearances in its list of crimes, an advance from earlier tribunals. The Statute also "represents an advance with regard to the inclusion of gender concerns in the construction of international criminal law," he said.

While in The Hague, Mr. Vieira de Mello also met with the prosecutor of the UN war crimes tribunals, Carla Del Ponte.