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Intl. Criminal Court Treaty Enters into Force

MONDAY, 1 JULY 2002

International Criminal Court Treaty Enters into Force
- Jurisdiction of First Permanent Criminal Tribunal Begins

(New York, 1 July 2002) - The Rome Statute, the treaty creating the International Criminal Court (ICC), entered into force today, beginning the jurisdiction of the world's first permanent tribunal capable of trying individuals accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Events at UN headquarters and worldwide are being held to celebrate this momentous occasion.

"The new system of international criminal justice that begins on July 1 will be one of the greatest instruments of peace ever created to confront the dark and violent forces of human nature," said William Pace, Convenor of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court, a global network of over 1,000 member organizations supporting the creation of the Court. "All who remain determined to 'save future generations from the scourge of war' can celebrate this historic day. Millions of lives will be saved by the establishment of the ICC."

Today's event comes in the context of a multi-prong offensive by the US government, which has threatened to veto UN peacekeeping operations worldwide unless its nationals in those operations are granted immunity from the ICC. Entry into force of the Rome Statute also coincides with the opening day of the tenth and final session of the Preparatory Commission of the International Criminal Court - the planning body open to all UN members that has been meeting since the adoption of the ICC treaty on July 17, 1998. The opening plenary session of the Preparatory Commission on July 1st will include formal statements from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and by the numerous countries that have deposited their ratifications since the April 11 UN treaty event that triggered today's birth of the Court.

All countries to have deposited their ratifications by today will be able to participate with full voting rights in the first meeting of the Assembly of States Parties - the body that will oversee the work of the Court - which is scheduled to take place at UN headquarters from September 3 - 10. A number of crucial decisions will be taken at this meeting, including adopting a first year budget and finalizing the procedures for the nomination and election of judges and the Prosecutor. The formal call for nominations of judges will be made in September and elections are expected to take place in January of 2003.

The International Criminal Court is an independent body governed by the countries to have ratified its treaty. More than seventy of the 139 countries to sign the Court's treaty have now ratified it and ratifying countries come from all regions of the world. A provisional location for the new International Criminal Court has been chosen in the Hague, the Netherlands. The Court is expected to be ready to begin investigating and hearing cases once its officials are fully instated, likely by summer of 2003.

SPECIAL NOTE: The media are welcome to attend, by RSVP using the contact information provided above, the morning plenary and an evening celebratory event at UNICEF's Labouisse Hall. Television crews are permitted. UN media accreditation is necessary for admittance to the morning event. For information about how to obtain a UN press badge, visit http://www.iccnow.org/html/press.html. For UN-related inquiries, contact Ellen McGuffie at the UN Department of Information by calling (212) 963-0499 or emailing mediainfo@un.org.

About the Coalition for the International Criminal Court The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (Coalition) is a network of over 1,000 civil society organizations supporting a permanent, fair and independent International Criminal Court. http://www.iccnow.org

-- Adele Waugaman, Media Liaison Coalition for the International Criminal Court

777 UN Plaza, 3rd Floor, New York NY 10017 USA T:+ 212.687.2176 F:+ 212.599.1332 E: ciccmedia@iccnow.org


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