THE HAGUE, July 2, 2002 ( – Yesterday the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered into force.  “Crimes” under the ICC’s purview committed anywhere on earth can be tried by the international court, according to its foundational documents.  In its initial stages the court will be involved in setting up operations, however, “crimes” committed as of July 1, 2002 are open for prosecution by the court once it is fully operational.  An advance team for the ICC began its work yesterday to start recruiting and begin basic operations.  The team, consisting of eight experts, will work closely with the Government of the Netherlands on preparatory work before the first budget of the Court is to be adopted by its States Parties when they meet this September. At that time, recruitment and procurement can formally begin. The States Parties to the Statute expect to elect a prosecutor and 18 judges for the Court in another meeting, scheduled for January.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the “historic” creation of the world’s first permanent forum for trying individuals accused of “genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” and the as of yet undefined crime of ‘aggression’.  Annan praised the 74 ratifying countries and urged the rest of the world to follow suit.  Annan said the court “holds the promise of a world in which the perpetrators” of UN-defined ‘crimes’ are “prosecuted when individual States are unable or unwilling to bring them to justice.”  In related news, Israel is supporting the US position calling for the court to restrict its jurisdiction to those countries which have ratified the treaty. Israel also stated that it will not “now or for the foreseeable future” ratify the ICC.

See the UN release on the ICC launch:  See the coverage on Israel:


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