Launch of Rome Statute 20 commemorations 

Opening forums. 15-16 February, The Hague

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute – the ground-breaking treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), the only permanent judicial mechanism mandated to investigate and prosecute genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression – the Coalition for the ICC will launch its opening forums in February 2018 in The Hague, The Netherlands.

We hope the 20th anniversary will be a time for renewal of the understanding and commitment to making the Rome Statute, the ICC, and the unprecedented system of international criminal justice created by the treaty, the hope for peace and the rule of law for this century that we all affirmed so few years ago and which is needed now more than ever in our current world.

The Coalition’s event in The Hague also aims to recognize the role of the variety of stakeholders involved in its adoption – states, regional and international organizations, and civil society. 

Download the full programme here 

Please find below an overview of the program of the launch forums. Further information on the speakers and program will be shared in advance of the event.

Please contact for any questions or comments regarding the event. We look forward to welcoming you in February!

High level statements on 20 years of the Rome Statute

Benjamin Ferencz, former Nuremburg Prosecutor 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid 

Motoo Noguchi, Trust Fund For Victims

Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General

Navi Pillay, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Opening Forum

Thursday 15 February

Location: International Criminal Court, Oude Waalsdorperweg 10, 2597 AK Den Haag, the Netherlands

15:30-16:00 Registration at the ICC

16:00-17:30 Opening Forum in ICC main meeting room

17:30-19:00 Reception in the ICC Lobby


Panel discussions

Friday 16 February

Location: Academy Hall, Peace Palace, Carnegieplein 2, 2517 KJ Den Haag, the Netherlands

9:00-9:30 Check-in

9:30-10:00 Coffee/Tea

10:00-10:15 Welcoming Remarks

Mr. William R. Pace, Convenor, Coalition for the International Criminal Court

10:15-12:30 Session I - Historical Significance of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

  • What is the historic significance of the adoption of the treaty relative to: international criminal law? Civil society? National justice efforts? The work of the Court itself?
  • What were the factors in 1998 or 2002 that supported the creation and establishment of the ICC? Are those factors still there? What new factors and developments have emerged since then?
  • How does the Rome Statute exist within the framework of ad hoc and special tribunals, and the wider post-Cold War international criminal justice architecture?
  • Has the Rome Statute successfully addressed the Peace vs. Justice debate?
  • What lessons have been learned from other jurisdictions that must be taken into account to ensure the Rome Statute system’s longevity?

Panelists’ Presentations and Interactive Dialogue

12:30-14:00 Break

14:00-15:30 Session II - Assessing the Rome Statute System 20 Years Out: Challenges to progress in the fight against impunity in today's geopolitical landscape

  • What are the successes and shortfalls of foundational elements of the Rome Statute and the ICC on: Cooperation? Non-Cooperation? Complementarity? Victims? Universality? Legal Representation? Amendments?
  • Assessing the main organs of the Rome Statute system: the Office of the Prosecutor, the Judiciary, the Registry, the Office of the Presidency, the Trust Fund for Victims, the Assembly of States Parties and its Secretariat.
  • How is the Court weathering political opposition? From the African Union? From the United Nations?


Panelists’ Presentations and Interactive Dialogue

15:30-16:00 Coffee/Tea

16:00-17:30 Session III - The Future of the Rome Statute system, the International Criminal Court, and International Justice

  • What are the key challenges to be overcome, and most importantly, how do we overcome them?
  • Who will be the supporters of the ICC in 20 years? How do the creators of the system "pass the baton" to a new generation of activists and government leaders?
  • What opportunities exist to position the ICC more positively within global politics, increasing its deterrent effect and ensuring support of the international community?
  • How does the Rome Statute system and the ICC fit into a world increasingly confronted by extreme nationalism and the deepening crisis of multilateralism?
  • How can the 20th anniversary be used to advance these goals? What can stakeholders do in practical terms?


Panelists’ Presentations and Interactive Dialogue


17:30-17:45 Concluding Remarks

Concept note

Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Rome Statute

Launch Forum, 15-16 February 2018

In this anniversary year, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (Coalition) is dedicated to honoring the groundbreaking achievement that was the adoption of the Rome Statute and the subsequent establishment of the only permanent international court mandated to end impunity for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.

The Coalition is committed to doing all we can to commemorate, celebrate, and honor the government and international organization leaders, and Coalition members who have helped achieve this historic victory for international peace and security since 1995.

The launch of the Coalition's commemoration will take place on 15-16 February 2018 in The Hague, the Netherlands. At the launch, and throughout the year, while celebrating this historic advance in peace, justice, and international law, the Coalition will also take stock of the treaty and the international justice system it created - from its progressive provisions to unexpected lacunae; from its idealistic vision to an increasingly challenging political reality.

Crucial to this process of reflection is consideration of the ongoing challenges faced by the Rome Statute system, and how the future of effective, independent, and fair international justice can be assured. At the launch event in February, we will consider key questions about the history, the evolution, and the future of the treaty, the Court, and international justice:

  • Was the international community ready for the Statute and the Court?
  • What assessments can be made about the treaty, the Court, and the actions of the states that created the system?
  • What are the main challenges confronting the Court, its Assembly of States Parties, the international community, and civil society in ensuring strong international humanitarian law enforcement and an end to impunity?
  • How do we envision the future of the Rome Statute, the ICC, and international justice during the next 20 years?
  • Do extremism, xenophobia, nativism and rising attacks against multilateralism represent temporary or existential threats to the ICC?


We are very pleased that many current and former leaders of the Court and of the Rome treaty process have expressed their support and willingness to join in this assessment in The Hague and throughout the year.

The launch event will feature contributions from many of the actors and leaders of the Rome Statute process and over the past 20 years: government delegates; leaders from the United Nations and other regional and international organizations, including the European Union; leaders, Judges, and staff of the ICC, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia/Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, among others; representatives of The Hague diplomatic community; and members of civil society and the Coalition from around the world.

Our goal through these launch forums is to spur a genuine interactive dialogue on these important issues. Each session will be framed by 1-2 contributors, followed by a discussion enabling all who are willing to contribute, with a kind request to limit interventions to 1-3 minutes.

Participants are welcome to prepare longer statements for distribution and uploading to this website.

We are also honored to be able to screen video statements from a number of eminent personalities in the international justice field and to enable contributions from different regions, backgrounds, and legal traditions.

We are confident that these contributions and the discussions at the Coalition's forums, weaved into a narrative tapestry, could augment other anniversary events and actions in support of the Rome Statute system.

We look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure a future for international justice worthy of the ideals and principles that led to Rome. 

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