The Coalition for the ICC and the need to renew the hope in international criminal justice

Image credit: The Comisión Colombiana de Juristas
The Comisión Colombiana de Juristas
The Comisión Colombiana de Juristas share their views to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

These are turbulent times for international criminal justice, as the fight against impunity has always been. Millions of victims of atrocious crimes ask their national authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law, the latter in the context of armed conflicts.

The international responsibilities of States declared by human rights organs such as the Inter-American Court, the African Court and the European Court confirm the constant breach of the duties to respect, guarantee and protect human rights, as well as the denial of justice in many cases, and the lack of protection of the victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-repetition.

For these reasons, it is necessary to count on an international tribunal to prosecute and punish those responsible for serious international crimes, crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, as the International Criminal Court (ICC) does. Therefore, it is important to value the efforts made by the ICC to address the calls for justice of victims of international crimes around the world and to strengthen the standards and criteria for the defense and protection of human rights and the fight against impunity. To that end, the organized work of civil society has been and will continue to be indispensable.

The Comisión Colombiana de Juristas was part of the preparatory meetings for the adoption of the Rome Statute and has been part of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC or Coalition) since its foundation. For more than 20 years, the work of the Coalition has helped broaden the knowledge of all societies about international criminal law and the ICC. It continues to strengthen the mechanisms for victims’ participation and advocacy before this Court and its Prosecutor’s Office, establish bonds of communication and support between civil society organizations that are constantly striving to protect human rights and humanitarian law, and increase the recognition of the importance of justice.

The Coalition represents the union of humanity to avoid impunity for the crimes that have impacted the dignity of each and every inhabitant of the world. At a regional level, its presence has made it possible to build a civil society interested in global justice and adamant about fulfilling the rights of victims, generating a global alliance that makes important legal contributions to strengthen international criminal justice as a common project.

After 25 years since the creation of the CICC, it is time to insist on its importance. It is also a time to remember the reasons for its existence and to reiterate the joint commitments which are the basis for the permanence of its member organizations, who see Coalition as a common purpose of international justice. Many victims that are still calling for justice view the ICC as their last chance to find it. Therefore, attacks against the ICC must be rejected, as they are truly attacking the interests of victims of heinous crimes and their hopes for justice.

On 17 July, during the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute and the commemoration of the International Justice Day, we must insist on the need for a Coalition which is both strengthened to respond to the victims’ expectations and willing to support over and over, as many times as necessary, the existence of the ICC as a perfectible instance of global criminal justice.

We want to join the commemoration of this occasion by making a call to reiterate our joint commitment to justice and to focus our efforts in strengthening the ICC and affirming the importance of having a Coalition that brings civil society together to give voice to victims and to fight against impunity and injustice.