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Estonia Assumed Leadership of Assembly of States Parties of International Criminal Court


Yesterday in New York the 120-member Assembly of the International Criminal Court (ICC) chose Estonian representative Tiina Intelmann as president of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC. For the next three years Estonia will lead the work of the ICC member states and mediate negotiations related to the court’s functioning.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that for the next three years Estonia must ensure political support for the work of the court. “Political support is necessary in order for the court to function efficiently – for example, in fulfilling arrest warrants and in getting more countries to join the Rome Statute so that the court’s jurisdiction would become global,” said the foreign minister.

Paet said that the creation of the court could be considered one of the greatest breakthroughs in international law in the last decades. “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,” noted the Estonian foreign minister. He added 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.

* 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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