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International Criminal Court Must Tackle Impunity

Tackling Impunity Key To Success Of International Criminal Court – Liechtenstein

New York, Sep 29 2008 2:10PM

The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the most significant feat in international law in decades, Liechtenstein told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate today, noting that the body’s legacy will be measured by its moves to address the issue of impunity.

“We must work in practice to give [the ICC] the necessary political support,” said Rita Kieber-Beck, the small European nation’s Foreign Minister. “The success of the ICC will be the yardstick in the fight against impunity.”

She drew attention to the Genocide Convention, adopted by the Assembly six decades ago and which the ICC has jurisdiction over.

“The Convention was born out of the desire to prevent recurrence of genocide, yet it failed to achieve this purpose on several occasions thereafter,” Ms. Kieber-Beck said. “The rallying cry ‘Never again!’ can only be used so often before it loses credibility.”

The Foreign Minister said efforts must continue to be made to ensure that the concept of the “responsibility to protect” is better understood and applied in practice.

It “is a narrow concept that is limited to clearly defined cases of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,” she said, adding that “it is based on the sovereign responsibility of States to protect their own populations as well as the United Nations Charter.”


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