Europe supports the ICC without fail and without zeal

21 May 2007 by Emmanuel Chicon and Benjamin Bibas

Since its conception, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has found its most fervent supporters in Europe. No fewer than 20 European countries participated in the pro-ICC "like-minded group" of 58 during the Rome Statute negotiations in 1998. This diplomatic activism—rewarded by the election of judges from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Latvia and other European states to the permanent court—has continued unfailingly within the European Union (EU). However, on a practical level, the cooperation is less effective and relations with the ICC remain bilateral for the most part, just like relationships between States regarding universal jurisdiction cases.

"At the start of each rotating presidential term, we draw up a list of countries in which the EU wishes to promote the universality and integrity of the Rome Statute," says Rafael de Bustamante, a "focal point" for the ICC at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. Currently, more than 100 states have been "canvassed" in this way and the upcoming ratification by Japan, chosen as a "priority" target in 2006, owes much to this aspect of European diplomacy. At the Council, an ICC working party was created in 2002 within a working group on public international law. It is essentially composed of representatives of the Foreign Affairs Ministries of the Member States, who five or six times a year discuss the support strategy of the Union vis-à-vis third countries. In June 2003, the Council of the European Union adopted a Common Position on the ICC: "To support the effective functioning of the Court and to promote a universal support in its favor by encouraging the widest possible ratification of the Rome Statute."

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.