The Republic of Moldova [official website, in Moldovan] on Tuesday ratified [press release] the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. The treaty [text] will become effective in Moldova on January 1, 2011. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton [official profile] commended the move, noting the positive effects that ratification will have [press release, PDF] on relations between the EU and Moldova. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] offered similar praise [press release], though Christopher Keith Hall of the International Justice Project cautioned that, "national law reform is vital to ensure that Moldova can cooperate fully with the Court and that its national courts can fulfil their obligations to investigate and prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes." Moldova becomes the 114th signatory to the treaty since 1998.
The ICC, while praised by many observers, is not without controversy. Earlier this month, the court announced that it would continue the proceedings [JURIST report] against Democratic Republic of Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [JURIST news archive]. The court had previously ordered a stay in the proceedings as well as Lubanga's release [JURIST reports]. Last month, a Kenyan businessman challenged the constitutionality [JURIST report] of the ICC's investigation into the violence following the 2007 Kenyan presidential election [JURIST news archive], arguing that it is illegal under the country's new constitution [JURIST report], adopted in August. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] opened the inaugural Review Conference of the Rome Statute [materials] in June by hailing the dawn of an "age of accountability," though attendees were unable to reach a consensus on the definition of a crime of aggression [JURIST reports].