Ireland to Ratify International Criminal Court Statute
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Brian Cowen, T.D., has announced that Ireland will be among seven states depositing their Instruments of Ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court with the United Nations Treaty Office in New York, in a joint ceremony to be held at 14:30, Irish time, today.
The effect of this ceremony will be to bring the number of ratifications of the Rome Statute above the 60 required to bring it into force. The Statute, which creates the International Criminal Court, will now enter into force on 1 July, 2002.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court establishes an International Criminal Court which will be empowered to investigate, prosecute and punish ‘the most serious crimes of international concern'- genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and in the future, the crime of aggression.
In announcing the news, the Minister stated,
‘ Today's ceremony is an historic event. The entry into force of the Rome Statute in July will represent one of the most significant developments in international human rights and humanitarian law since the Second World War.
For far too long the world has witnessed serious violations of these norms go unpunished due to the lack of an enforcement mechanism. For the first time ever, a permanent international court will exist with jurisdiction to try persons for the commission of these crimes."
The Minister added that
"In ratifying the Rome Statute, Ireland once again affirms its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and to the rule of law throughout the world. This commitment is felt not alone by the Government, but by the people of Ireland, who directly expressed their support for the International Criminal Court in a referendum held in June last year."
Note for Editors:
The Rome Statute will enter into force on 1 July 2002. In September, an Assembly of States Parties to the Statute will meet and elect the Judges, the Prosecutor and the Registrar of the Court, as well as make various decisions on the budget of the Court. It is expected that the Court, which will sit in The Hague, will become operational in 2003, though it should be noted that it will have jurisdiction over crimes committed any time after the entry into force of the Statute.
The Court will have jurisdiction over crimes committed on the territory or by a national of a State Party. The jurisdiction of the Court is complementary to that of national courts and will be exercised when States are unable or unwilling genuinely to carry out an investigation or prosecution.
An amendment to the Constitution was necessary before ratification as becoming party to the the Statute would involve a partial transfer of the sovereign power of the State to administer justice. In a referendum held last June the people, by a majority of 64.22% approved an amendment of the Constitution - one of very few popular referendums held throughout the world on the ICC.
Ireland's ratification of the Rome Statute was also debated by the Dáil and Seanad prior to the referendum, and received cross-Party support.Top