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[CICC] Deaths of UN Personnel Mourned

[CICC] Deaths of UN Personnel Mourned

The NGO Coalition for the ICC Mourns the Loss of Sergio Vieira de Mello, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

New York, August 19, 2003 - The NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court mourns the tragic deaths of Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and principle UN envoy to Iraq, and other UN personnel killed in a blast at the UN headquarters in Baghdad this morning.

"The Coalition for the International Criminal Court extends its sincere condolences to the families of High Commissioner de Mello and the other UN personnel killed in today's tragic acts of violence in Baghdad," said William Pace, convenor of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court. "Attacks against UN personnel are recognized under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as war crimes. Mr. de Mello was a strong defender of human rights and international justice, and an advocate of the International Criminal Court."

High Commissioner de Mello expressed strong support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) as both a deterrent and enforcement mechanism in an interview in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard, saying, "We unreservedly support the ICC and its chief Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo. We are going to cooperate closely - both over prosecution and prevention."

Mr. de Mello's extensive human rights experience included refugee and peacekeeping assignments during more than 30 years of service at the UN. Prior to becoming UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, his posts included positions based in Rwanda, the Former Yugoslavia and East Timor.

"Peace and justice and adherence to the principles of the UN Charter are all inseparable," Mr. Pace said. "Mr. de Mello and the other UN officials made the supreme sacrifice in defense of these principles today."

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