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ICC: Joint NGO Letter on State Party Support

New York, 28 April 2020

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned organizations, call on your State and all States Parties to the Rome Statute to show support for the Rome Statute system and the International Criminal Court (ICC), especially in the face of threats to its independence and mandate. Although threats to the pursuit of international justice, including in the context of the ICC, are not new, protecting the ICC is particularly important today in the face of escalating hostility towards the Court.

The ICC’s crucial role in complementing the primary role of national courts cannot be overstated. We acknowledge that the ICC would benefit from changes to strengthen its performance, but ensuring a fair, effective, and independent Court depends on support from States Parties. We welcome the reaffirmation of ICC States Parties to “uphold and defend the principles and values enshrined in the Rome Statute and to preserve its integrity undeterred by any threats against the Court.” We urge States Parties to uphold the Rome Statute system by making strong, concrete expressions of support and to defend it by unequivocally condemning threats. The challenges faced by the Court require nothing less.

As you know, on 20 January 2020, one month after the ICC Prosecutor announced that the situation in Palestine merits investigation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for “sanctions against the international court, its officials, its prosecutors, everyone.” On 17 March 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo threatened to impose punitive measures against two named senior ICC staffers, other ICC staffers, and their families. His remarks came after the ICC authorized an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan. These are among the latest in a series of attacks that undermine the Court itself and intimidate its staff in order to protect political interests at the expense of international justice.

This combination of threats and the U.S. visa ban policy seeks to undermine the Court’s ability to deliver justice to victims whenever States are unwilling or unable to genuinely investigate and prosecute crimes under the Rome Statute. The ICC must be free to carry out its mandate, without fear or favor, on the basis of the legal requirements delineated in the Rome Statute—not on the basis of political considerations.

As a State Party to the Rome Statute, your country has clearly committed to ending impunity for crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction, regardless of the perpetrator’s nationality. Defending the Court’s independence is key to fulfilling that pledge. We urge you to act with your fellow States Parties to champion the Court’s mandate and independence and uphold the Rome Statute’s integrity by:

  1. Expressing your government’s strong and continued commitment to the ICC and its prosecutorial and judicial independence in bilateral, multilateral, and public forums at the domestic, regional, and international levels;
  2. Calling on the U.S. government to repeal its ICC visa ban policy and to refrain from attacking the Court, its staff, or their families in any way;
  3. Calling on the Israeli government to repudiate its call for sanctions against the Court and its staff;
  4. Publicly expressing your government’s determination to cooperate fully with the Court across its work;
  5. Calling on all relevant actors to cooperate with the investigation into the situation in Afghanistan and any possible investigation into the situation in Palestine;
  6. Ratifying, if not previously done, the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court (APIC);
  7. Domesticating, if not previously done, the Rome Statute; and
  8. Signing, if not previously done, all relevant cooperation agreements with the ICC (for example, on the protection of witnesses and victims; the release of persons, including interim release; and the enforcement of sentences).

Thank you for your commitment and support for the Rome Statute system and the ICC.

Sincerely,

ACAT-Burundi  

ACAT-Switzerland  

Action Humaine pour le Développement Intégré au Sénégal (AHDIS)  

Africa Center for International Law and Accountability  

Africa Legal Aid (AFLA)  

African Development and Peace Initiative  

AL Ensan Center for think individual development  

Al-Haq  

Amman Center for Human Rights Studies  

Anfal Storys Organization  

Arry Organization for Human Rights   

Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España   

Association Française pour la promotion de la Compétence Universelle (AFPCU)  

Australian Centre for International Justice  

Avocats Sans Frontières  

Bema Organization for Economic and Social Rights 

Center for Civil Liberties  

Center for Constitutional Rights  

Center for Justice and Accountability  

Civil Association Democracia Global - Movimiento por la Unión Sudamericana y el Parlamento Mundial  

Civil Rights Defenders (CRD)  

Coalition Ivoirienne pour la CPI   

Coalition Malienne pour la CPI/CM-CPI  

Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos  

Comision por la Carta Democratica Interamericana  

COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding – Nigeria  

Congo Peace Initiative  

Culture pour la Paix et la Justice (CPJ)  

Defence of Human Rights – Pakistan  

Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past  

Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation  

EuroMed Rights  

Fédération internationale pour les Droits Humains (FIDH)  

Femmes et Droits Humains  

Fundacion Federalista Dominicana  

Fundacion Nacional para la Democracia   

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect  

Housing and Land Rights Network – Habitat International Coalition  

Human Rights Center (HRIDC) - Georgia  

Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan  

Human Rights Center ZMINA  

Human Rights Concern - Eritrea (HRCE)  

Human Rights Defenders Solidarity Network Uganda  

Human Rights Watch   

Humanitarian Law Center – Belgrade  

International Commission of Jurists - Norway  

Initiatives for Peace and Human Rights (iPeace)  

Institute for Environmental Security, Green Transparency and Ecological Defence Integrity  

International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms  

International Coalition Against Impunity-HOKOK  

International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect 

International Commission of Jurists – Kenya  

International Platform of Jurists for East Timor (IPJET)  

Iranian Center for International Criminal Law (ICICL)  

Justice International  

Kenya Human Rights Commission  

Kurdish Organizations Network Coalition for the International Criminal Court (KON-CICC)  

Kurdistan without Genocide  

La Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)  

La Ligue Burundaise des droits de l'homme Iteka  

Lawyers for Justice in Libya  

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights  

Le Center Marocain de la Paix et la Loi  

Le Club des amis du droit du Congo  

Le Groupe LOTUS - RDC  

MADRE  

Mission for Establishment of Human Rights (MEHR)  

MOM Organization  

Mouvement Panafricain de la Jeunesse Féminine pour la paix  

National Centre for Human Rights and Development (NACFOHRD)  

Norwegian Helsinki Committee  

Nuba Women Organization for Development   

Observatoire Centrafricain des Droits de l’Homme (OCDH)  

Odhikar  

Open Society Justice Initiative  

Organization Against Weapons of Mass Destruction in Kurdistan  

Organization of the Justice Campaign  

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)  

Parliamentarians for Global Action  

REDRESS  

Regional Centre for Human Rights - Ukraine  

Reporters sans frontières / Reporters Without Borders (RSF)  

Réseau Equitas Côte d'Ivoire (REQCI)   

Rights for Peace  

Rights International Spain (RIS)  

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights  

SACCORD  

Sahayta  

Society for Threatened Peoples – Switzerland  

SOS-Torture/Burundi  

Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)  

StoptheDrugWar.org  

Students for Global Democracy – Uganda  

Sudanese Women Human Rights Defenders Project  

Sudanese Women Rights Action   

Swedish Foundation for Human Rights  

The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession (ACIJLP)  

Transitional Justice Coordination Group  

Transitional Justice Working Group of Liberia  

TRIAL International  

Tunisian Coalition for the ICC  

Union for Civil Liberty - Thailand  

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries  

United Nations Association – Sweden  

United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia  

Voluntary Aid Association - India 

WITNESS  

Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice  

World Citizens Association of Australia  

World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP)  

World Renewers Organization  

World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law   

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