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Europe governments agree to detain ICC convicts

The governments of Finland, Belgium, and Denmark agreed Tuesday to detain those convicted [press release] by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song [official profile] described the agreement as "an important element in the overall credibility of the judicial process at the ICC." The agreement was signed at the Review Conference of the Rome Statute [official website], a meeting of ICC member states in Kampala, Uganda, convened to review and amend the founding treaty [texts] of the ICC. The agreement brings the number of states that have agreed to take ICC convicts to five, following the UK in 2007 and Austria in 2005. The ICC is currently conducting two trials and has yet to convict any of the 14 people indicted since the court's founding in 2002. The four individuals indicted and currently in the ICC's custody are being held awaiting trial at the ICC detention center in a Dutch prison at The Hague, a facility shared with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website].

During the opening day of the review conference on Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] hailed [JURIST report] the dawning of an "age of accountability" of the ICC. Ban described the first conference as a "landmark in the history of international criminal justice." Ban went on to defend the ICC against charges of selectivity in its investigations, which has been an accusation frequently leveled at the court due to the fact that most of its caseload is from Africa, causing tense relations with the governments in the region. Ban stated that "African society is cheering" because the court is on the side of the victims. Ban pointed to the support for the court among African non-governmental organizations as an indication of support for the ICC from African civil society. ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] described the change [BBC report] in the international legal system since the establishment of the court as a legal revolution, and said the the attitude in Africa was changing in favor of the court.

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