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July 16, 2019

Statement of ABA President Bob Carlson Re: International Criminal Justice Day

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2019 – International Criminal Justice Day is an opportunity to reflect on progress made in advancing accountability for atrocity crimes, and to renew our commitment to strengthening international justice.  In the more than two decades since the Rome Statute treaty created the International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 17, 1998, the ICC has become a pillar of the international justice system.  The American Bar Association has long supported the ICC as essential to holding accountable those who commit genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and has urged greater state support, including from the United States, for the ICC and its cases.

While the past year has made clear the challenges in fighting impunity and pursuing justice for atrocity crimes, there has been encouraging progress: national-level prosecutions for atrocity crimes committed in Iraq and Syria; the conviction at the ICC of a Democratic Republic of the Congo militia leader (the first for sexual violence crimes); and a request for formal ICC investigation into crimes committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar. There remains much work to be done to eradicate impunity for atrocity crimes through prevention, response, and consistent accountability — a challenge that requires the collective commitment of the international community.

On International Criminal Justice Day 2019, the ABA renews its call for all governments to provide greater support for the ICC politically, diplomatically and financially. The ABA also urges all governments, including the United States, to join the Rome Statute and to protect the vital independence of courageous advocates and judges throughout the world who advance international justice.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.