(New York) - Human Rights Watch today applauded Colombia's ratification of the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty. The ICC is an international tribunal charged with investigating and prosecuting those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Its jurisdiction applies to state actors as well as non-state actors such as rebel groups and paramilitaries. 
 
By agreeing to become part of this Court, Colombia has sent a very important message to all parties of the conflict: either stop abuses or you could be facing justice in the ICC," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Americas Division of Human Rights Watch. "The FARC, the paramilitaries and state actors should think twice before committing future atrocities unless they want to face charges before this court."  
 
Human Rights Watch said Colombia's ratification gives new hope to the countless victims of this bloody armed conflict who have suffered incessant violence, followed by threats and intimidation when they sought justice.  
 
"Now, if Colombia can't do justice for its victims, the ICC can," said Vivanco.  
 
The ICC Treaty entered into force July 1st, 2002. Colombia's ratification brings the total number of ratifications to the ICC Treaty to seventy-seven.