Ecumenical News International

EKD peace spokesperson says International Criminal Court must be strengthened

November 21, 2016

Bremen (epd). Renke Brahms, a leading Bremen pastor and spokesperson on peace for the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), is concerned about Russia's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and about the future of the international legal order. "To have a peaceful world we need institutions, rules and procedures for an internationally agreed and generally recognised legal system," Brahms said, speaking in Bremen on 20 November. In his view, negotiations and talks were still urgently needed to gain respect for international law by the whole international community.

The news from Moscow came on 16 November at the start of the annual Assembly of the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC in The Hague. The meeting is already overshadowed by the announced departure of several African states. Brahms expressed concern that many states like the USA and China did not belong to the ICC and others were now resigning. Reasons given were that charges had only been brought against African states, or that the court's work was biased and inefficient.

Important instrument for protecting human rights

"Naturally an international legal order can only really work if the judgments are also accepted and respected by all states," the peace spokesperson underlined. "Current thinking by the ICC's chief prosecutor on investigating members of the US military for war crimes in Afghanistan show that this court does not only focus on African human rights violations."

The Assembly of 124 States Parties is convening for a week. It is the supervisory body of the ICC. Founded in 2002, the court prosecutes genocides, crimes against humanity and war crimes. So far, it has issued five judgments. The ICC is regarded as the most important instrument for the protection of human rights. Through fighting impunity, it aims to prevent dictators, torturers and war criminals from escaping punishment if national courts take no action against them.



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