25 years of fighting the pandemic of impunity

The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC).

What began as the effort of a group of 25 civil society organizations in the 1990s, which led a successful advocacy campaign for the establishment of a permanent international criminal court, is today a network of over 2,500 organizations committed to achieving global justice.

The original goal was attained in 1998, with the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) by 120 States at the Rome Conference. The Court became a reality when it started its operations in 2002.

The message from the CICC and the international community was clear: fighting impunity for crimes that “threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world” and that “deeply shock the conscience of humanity”, required a push from all—a global initiative—to bring perpetrators of mass atrocities to justice and provide redress to victims.

As the Coalition commemorates its incredible 25-year-long journey in 2020, this year also brings major global challenges to overcome, mainly, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and increasing threats against the Court and its officials. The COVID-19 pandemic may result in Rome Statute States Parties reshuffling their funding priorities, despite the context of an ICC Review process that seeks to strengthen a widely considered weak, ineffective and inefficient Court.

The Coalition for the ICC reaffirms its unbreakable commitment to support the fight against impunity and injustice. The unity that forged the CICC, and the unity that brought the Rome Statute into existence, is of critical importance in the current context, especially given the increasing hostility towards the ICC and defenders of the ICC.

Since Nuremberg, humanity has been battling the long-standing “virus” of impunity for the most atrocious crimes. The promise of “never again”, however, never seemed to be fully embraced as mass atrocities continue unhindered in the modern era. Now, the crisis of multilateralism risks a further weakening of international accountability frameworks, including the Rome Statute system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that global problems require global solutions. It is by taking responsibility in our individual and collective actions that we can overcome global challenges.

In this spirit, the CICC will continue to advocate for a strong, independent and effective ICC, while supporting NGOs around the world in their efforts to end impunity for international crimes.