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Estonia Sees International Criminal Court as Insurer of Adherence to Human Rights

26.09.2011

No. 311-E

At his meeting with representatives of the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) in New York, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia considers the promotion of human rights in the world to be very important, which is why Estonia would like to be a member of the UN Human Rights Council next year.

Paet stated that the International Criminal Court (ICC) also plays a vital role in insuring human rights and that Estonia has nominated Tiina Intelmann to be the president of the organisation’s Assembly of States Parties. “As a representative of civil society, Human Rights Watch has played an important role in the creation of the ICC and been an active supporter and influence in the court’s development,” said Paet. “The ICC has been one of Estonia’s international priorities every since it was created on the basis of the Rome Statute. Over the next three years, for which the Estonian ambassador has been nominated to lead the member states of the ICC, we hope for even closer co-operation with the HRW as well as other representatives of civil society,” he added.

During the meeting Foreign Minister Paet also spoke about the challenges tied to the work of the ICC. “Effective co-operation with states ensures the regular functioning of the court. Refusal to co-operate reduces the ICC’s ability to do its work,” said the Estonian foreign minister. “Therefore it is important for the member states of the Rome Statute to fulfill their obligation to arrest any individual on their territory against whom the court has issued an arrest warrant,” he added.

Paet emphasised that even the states that have not joined the Rome Statue should respect the court’s work in ensuring that the perpetrators of crimes do not go unpunished. “Naturally the greater goal is for all the countries in the world to join the Rome Statute and for the court’s jurisdiction to be global,” he added.

At the meeting, director of the HRW’s international justice programme Richard Dicker said that leading the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC would give Estonia a tremendous opportunity to show its dedication to the administration of international criminal justice on a very high level. “During that time you could also organise a meeting about the ICC in Tallinn,” Dicker said during the meeting.

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