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(The Hague) – Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch released a short video today in which students from universities around the world discuss the importance of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Supporters of international justice will mark the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, the court’s founding treaty, on July 17, 2018.

The ICC is the first permanent international criminal court set up to provide justice for the victims of the world’s worst crimes, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It has opened investigations in 10 countries since it began operations in 2003.

The International Criminal Court premises in The Hague. © 2016 Human Rights Watch

“The frequent wartime atrocities around the world are a disturbing reminder of the need to hold those responsible to account and bring justice for victims,” said Elizabeth Evenson, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “A new generation recognizes the critical role the International Criminal Court can play in achieving those goals.”

The ICC has 123 member countries. The ICC prosecution has opened investigations in Burundi, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Darfur region of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, and northern Uganda.

The prosecutor is also examining allegations of crimes committed in a number of other countries to determine whether to open investigations. These include: Colombia, Guinea, Nigeria, Palestine, Ukraine, and alleged abuses by United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq. The prosecution’s request to open an investigation in Afghanistan is pending before the court’s judges.

“At this twentieth anniversary of the ICC we must keep looking forward,” said Matt Cannock, head of Amnesty International’s Centre for International Justice. “Challenges will increase as the ICC becomes even more effective, and they will be met by young people who recognize the importance of international justice.”

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