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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Estonia Makes Serious Contribution to Work of International Criminal Court

27.09.2011

No. 307-E

At a meeting about the International Criminal Court (ICC) in New York yesterday, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the creation of the court could be considered one of the greatest breakthroughs in international law. “The ICC is a means for preventing gross human rights violations, creating a base for sustainable peace, promoting reconciliation in societies affected by conflict, and helping these societies rebuild,” said Paet.

The Estonian foreign minister noted that against the backdrop of the events of the Arab Spring, the need for the administration of international criminal justice and especially for an international criminal court has clearly increased once again. “While historically many temporary international tribunals have been created, for example those that administered justice for the crimes committed in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, now there is a permanent court that functions on the basis of an international agreement,” he noted.

Paet stated that Estonia has been an active supporter of the ICC’s work from the very beginning. “Estonia has supported the reinforcement of the court’s role, and over the next three years Estonia would like to help to do so even more, as we have nominated our former ambassador to the UN Tiina Intelmann to be the president of the ICC’s 118-member Assembly of States Parties for that period,” he said. Paet added that Intelmann’s candidacy to this position is scheduled to be confirmed in December. “Political support is essential to the proper functioning of the court, for example in fulfilling arrest warrants and achieving global jurisdiction for the court,” he said.

* Genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes all fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC. The ICC begins proceedings when domestic courts are not able to or do not wish to put the perpetrators of these crimes on trial. The court may also begin proceedings at the request of the UN Security Council. In accordance with the decision made at the Review Conference of the Rome Statute held last year in Uganda, as of 2017 the court will also be able to prosecute crimes of aggression. The International Criminal Court is based in The Hague. The court’s 18 judges and prosecutors are selected by the member states.

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