July 17, 2018

Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: International Criminal Justice Day

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2018 — On International Criminal Justice Day, the American Bar Association (ABA) recognizes the vitally important efforts of the international community to combat the atrocities of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. An effective international criminal justice system, led by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and national courts throughout the world, is essential to ending impunity for individuals who engage in atrocities, bringing justice to victims and their families, and achieving lasting international peace and security.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been achieved and to acknowledge the important work yet to be accomplished.

The ABA supported the establishment of a permanent international criminal justice tribunal beginning in 1978 and played an active role in the ICC’s founding in 1998.  We did so recognizing that accountability in international criminal law is indispensable to justice.  Indeed, preventing the worst of these crimes – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity – is at the heart of the international order erected after the mass atrocities of World War II.  Their continuation today is an affront to human dignity and a failure of human institutions.

Yet the ICC persists in its critical mission, and its hard-won successes to date give hope that justice will be served and future atrocities will be prevented.    

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