(New York) - Human Rights Watch today commended Argentina for ratifying the International Criminal Court treaty. Argentina today became the twenty-eighth state to ratify the treaty.   
 
"Argentina has experienced first-hand the legacy of state terror," said Brigitte Suhr, Counsel for the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. "Argentina's ratification of the treaty is an important sign that it is committed to not repeating that history."  

The court will be established once 60 states have ratified. It will prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed after its establishment and therefore is a safeguard against future commission of these crimes.  
 
"Argentina is poised to play a vital role in promoting ratification throughout the Americas," said Suhr. "We urge Argentina to use its strong ties to the Rio Group to encourage other Rio Group members to ratify soon."  
 
Argentina, as one of the first sixty states to ratify the Rome Treaty, will participate in the first Assembly of State Parties charged with the critical task of electing the court's first judges, prosecutor, and registrar.  
 
Twenty-eight states have ratified the Statute so far, including Canada, France, New Zealand, Senegal, and Venezuela. The treaty for the court was finalized in Rome in July 1998. Only seven countries, including the United States, Israel, Iraq, and China, voted against the treaty at that time, while 120 countries voted in favor.  
 
"The court is one of the most important advances in human rights protection in decades," said Suhr.