POST WRITTEN BY: Prof. Peter Widulski, Assistant Director of the First Year Legal Skills Program and the Coach of International Criminal Moot Court Team at Pace Law School.
July 17 is designated as the Day of International Criminal Justice because on July 17, 1998, the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome.
In a press release on July 10, 2014, the ICC stated that the State Parties to the Rome Statute “decided to commemorate [July 17 as a] unique date, recognising the efforts of the international community to strengthen the emerging system of international criminal justice and to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.”
The Rome Statute entered into force on July 1, 2002, upon ratification of 60 countries. At this time, some 120 countries have become parties to the Statute. The Court currently has before it eight situations (all involving countries on the African continent), and the ICC Prosecutor has brought 21 cases relating to those situations. The Prosecutor is conducting preliminary investigations relating to matters in several other countries, including Ukraine.
The ICC Prosecutor has succeeded in convicting two defendants relating to the Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One of these convictions (against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo) is still on appeal. As noted in a previous post, the other conviction (against Germain Katanga) became final when appeals were terminated on June 25, 2014.