17 July – International Criminal Justice Day
Today is the 17th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC), responsible for the prosecution of perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. The establishment of the ICC, in which Slovenia was actively involved, is considered to be among the most important steps and achievements of international law.
Today, the ICC is one of the most significant tools for preventing and punishing the most serious crimes. After centuries of failing to punish those responsible and to give victims of atrocities a voice, the establishment of the first permanent international criminal court ICC provided an alternative institution in which to seek for justice in cases where countries are either unable or unwilling to prosecute the perpetrators.
Together with the recently joined Palestine, the ICC currently comprises 123 States Parties from all parts of the globe and ensures protection for more than 2.3 billion people. The court is currently investigating the situation in Sudan (the Darfur case), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya, the Ivory Coast, and Mali. Preliminary investigations are also being conducted in nine cases: in Afghanistan, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Iraq, Colombia, Nigeria, Ukraine and Palestine. The Court has provided assistance to more than 100,000 victims of atrocities.
Slovenia supports the work of the ICC and promotes its universality, integrity and efficiency. It will continue to strive to implement the amendments to the Rome Statute relating to the crime of aggression and war crimes adopted in Kampala (Uganda) in June 2010. Since the ICC does not provide for its own prosecution mechanisms, cooperation between countries is crucial. Slovenia thus regularly calls on the states to fully cooperate with the court. This day is also a reminder that continued efforts by the international community are essential for progress in international criminal justice.
Slovenia provides its support for the court both in multilateral forums as well as at the bilateral level. Special attention is devoted to the victims of crimes. To this end, Slovenia's voluntary contribution to ICC's Trust Fund for Victims amounts to EUR 15,000 per year. As a member of the Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Slovenia is actively seeking for solutions to support the Assembly's work, and also underlines the importance of the ICC by organising various events. For this purpose, strengthening international criminal justice is one of the topics to be discussed at this year's Bled Strategic Forum.
Punishment for international crimes is a precondition for reconciliation, as well as a stable and prosperous future for the whole society, to which international criminal courts make a significant contribution. On this day, Slovenia expresses special acknowledgement to the ICC and full support for its work.