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Europe officials urge new international court for communist crimes

[JURIST] An international court to prosecute crimes against humanity committed by communist regimes should be created by the European Union (EU) [official website], the participants of the Prague Crimes of the Communist Regime Conference [official website] said in a joint statement [text] Friday. The participants in the conference, organized by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes [official website], said that the new court should be established because such crimes, which are not subject to a statute of limitations under international law, fall outside the jurisdiction of current international courts. The statement also characterized the prosecution of communist crimes over the past 20 years as "extremely unsatisfactory." The three-day conference, attended mostly by government officials from eastern and central Europe, focused on current communist regimes and their threat to democracy. In the statement, the participants also called for the erection of a memorial to the victims of communism in Europe and the dedication of European-wide Day of Remembrance of the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes on August 23.

Last year, prosecutors from the five major international tribunals called on member states [JURIST report] "to seriously consider the adoption of a convention on the Suppression and Punishment of Crimes against Humanity." The statement came at the end of a three-day convention and reiterated the need to fight against impunity for perpetrators of serious international crimes. Representatives from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Court of Sierra Leone (SCSL), the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official websites] attended the colloquium, which was held in Rwanda and hosted by the ICTR. The statement, which was unanimously adopted by the participants, also called on states to ensure their legal systems can effectively prosecute international crimes, to provide full cooperation to the all international criminal tribunals, and to become a party to the Rome Statute [text, PDF] of the ICC, if they have not already done so.

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