International Criminal Justice Day – 10th anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – Visit to Paris by Ms. Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor (July 17, 2012)

Statement by Laurent Fabius

"Today, July 17, we’re celebrating International Criminal Justice Day at the same time as the 10th anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Rome Statute establishing the Court, signed on July 17, 1998, came into force on July 1, 2002, after being ratified by 60 countries, of which France was one of the first. 10 years later, after the ratification of the Rome Statute by Guatemala in April, 121 States are Parties to the Rome Statute and the Court is fully operational.

France actively contributed to the creation of the ICC and will continue to take action to promote the universalization of the Court and to help it to exercise its functions.

I will have the pleasure and the honor of receiving the Prosecutor of the ICC, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, during her visit to Paris on July 19. She will also be received by the Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, and the Minister of Women’s Rights. This visit will provide an opportunity to express France’s support for the International Criminal Court and for the Prosecutor’s role.

The establishment of the ICC on the international stage is a historic step forward for people throughout the world. A permanent court is now responsible for ensuring, at the global level, that crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes will not go unpunished. To date, the ICC has conducted 7 investigations, issued about 20 arrest warrants and has just handed down its first verdict in one of the 15 cases before it, sentencing the former Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to 14 years in prison.

The Court must still overcome numerous challenges in order to improve its action, notably with respect to reducing the amount of time it takes to hand down judgments, improving its functioning, and developing cooperation among States. I will tell Ms. Bensouda that the ICC can count on France’s full support for all these projects, upon which the effectiveness of the fight against impunity and the defense of victims’ rights is dependent."