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Inaugural Ceremony Of The ICC

INAUGURAL CEREMONY OF THE ICC

On 11 March 2003, the eighteen judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who were elected in New York last week will be sworn in in public at the Court's Inaugural Session. Her Majesty the Queen and the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Kofi Annan, will attend the ceremony, which is to be held in the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights) in The Hague.

As the Host State of the ICC, the Netherlands will be organising this session. The Dutch Prime Minister, Mr Jan Peter Balkenende will welcome the guests, and the President of the Assembly of States Parties, His Royal Highness Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, will preside over the ceremony.

Before the ceremony the Prime Minister will host an official lunch for the government representatives of the States Parties.

The inaugural ceremony of the ICC will begin at 2:30 p.m. and last until approximately 4 p.m. Each of the eighteen judges of the International Criminal Court will take the oath individually.

The UN Secretary-General will be among the speakers. The ceremony will be followed by a reception hosted by Mr Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Dutch Government will invite all guests to attend a special performance by the Nederlands Dans Theater in the evening.

Representatives of the International Criminal Court and of the Host State, the Netherlands, will hold a press briefing at the Nieuwspoort press centre at 11 a.m. on 10 March, the day before the Inaugural Session.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force on 1 July 2002, when the number of ratifications passed the necessary number of sixty. The Court is competent to try cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The ICC's first Prosecutor has yet to be appointed. He or she is expected to be elected at the Assembly of States Parties in April 2003.

As of 12 February 2003, there are 89 States Parties to the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

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Note for editors

Accreditation Accreditation forms for the Inaugural Session can be requested on weekdays between 9.00-17.00 hours with the Netherlands Government Information Service (RVD), tel. + (31) 70 356 4142, facsimile + (31) 70 3564684.

N.B. 1. Accreditation closes at Monday March 3rd, at noon. 2. Only a limited number of seats are available for newspaper journalists. A pool may have to be introduced, depending on demand. 3. Radio and TV journalists and photographers will be admitted on the basis of a pool of the media that have applied for places. 4. The RVD will provide information on pools and press facilities on March 6th, 3 pm.

For information about the ICC: Ms Claudia Perdomo, International Criminal Court, Office of Public Information, Tel.: +31 70 515 8514; Fax: +31 70 515 8555, E-mail: claudia.perdomo@icc.int

For information on the Netherlands as ICC host state: Ms Hannah Tijmes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Information and Communication Department (DVL), Tel. +31 70 348 6238; Fax +31 70 348 5559, E-mail: ha.tijmes@minbuza.nl

Press briefing: a briefing for the press will be held on Monday March 10th, 11 am, in International Presscentre Nieuwspoort, Lange Poten 10, The Hague, by representatives of the ICC and the Netherlands as the host state. 13 February 2003 / no. 22

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

777 UN Plaza, 3rd Floor, New York NY 10017 USA T: (+) 1.212.687.2863 ext. 17 :: F: (+) 1.212.599.1332 :: E: ciccmedia@igc.org

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