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DROI Chair extremely concerned about the increasing number of withdrawals from the International Criminal Court (ICC)

The Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Elena Valenciano (S&D, ES), has made the following statement on behalf of the DROI committee:

“The ICC was established to ensure that perpetrators of crimes such as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity are brought to justice. The ICC thus offers solace to victims of such heinous crimes around the world and at the same time makes the perpetrators of those crimes know that they cannot count on impunity. These objectives, which inspired the creation of the ICC, are still valid today, maybe even more than ever before.

I am therefore extremely alarmed that very recently no fewer than four states have announced their intention of withdrawing or disengaging from the ICC, no matter for what reason. In October Burundi, South Africa and Gambia - all of these States parties of the Rome Statute - announced their withdrawal from the Court. More recently, Russia - which has never ratified the instrument nor engaged with the ICC - has decided to withdraw its signature from the founding Statute, which is highly regrettable.   

These unprecedented decisions set a very worrying trend as more states have announced they may now follow suit. If prolonged, this could put at serious risk the viability and continuation of the ICC. 

The international community owes it to all the victims of serious international crimes to see that the perpetrators stand trial in front of the ICC, through fair and transparent proceedings. I therefore call on all States that have not yet done so to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC, and I appeal to all States that have announced their intention to withdraw to reconsider their decision. 

The EU and its Member States should redouble their efforts in the protection, adequate support and further promotion of the ICC, particularly with key regional actors and in multilateral fora, but also in the framework of their bilateral relations.

This matter of great concern will continue to be closely followed by the Subcommittee on Human Rights in its work during the upcoming months".

Distributed by APO on behalf of European Parliament.