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UN Security Council urged to strengthen relationship with ICC

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Tuesday argued [press release] that justice suffers from the weak relationship between the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites] and the inconsistency of referrals. HRW urged the Security Council to address the issue in the open debate "Peace and Justice with a Special Focus on the Role of the International Criminal Court" that took place on Wednesday. Currently, under the Rome Statute [text], the Security Council can refer a situation involving a violation of international human rights under Chapter VII [text] of the UN Charter. However, the Council has referred only two situations up to now: the situation in Darfur in 2005 and the situation in Libya in 2011 [JURIST report]. Moreover, the HRW condemned the Council for changing its position during the ICC's Libya investigation when it ceased to support the ICC amid change in the country's political circumstances. HRW stated that the Council's "selectivity and double standard in making—and failing to make—referrals" has a detrimental effect on the ICC's effectiveness. During the open debate, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called for a stronger collaboration between the Security Council and the ICC to achieve international peace and justice. Director of the court's Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division Phakiso Mochochoko [official profile] stated that the relationship between the two entities could be strengthened by "extending interaction beyond specific situations referred by the Council and creating space for open discussions on thematic issues." HRW had previously called the 121 ICC member states to address the issue in the open debate in September letter [press release].

Since its inception in July 2002 the ICC [JURIST backgrounder] has become a dominant organization in international relations and the premiere tribunal for the prosecution of war crimes. During the period since ICC was established, it has investigated and prosecuted atrocities in countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Libya, Sudan and Uganda. Earlier this month, former militia leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [case materials] appealed [JURIST report] his ICC conviction and sentence. He was convicted [JURIST report] in March for the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities. In August the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Bensouda [official profile] filed an updated version [JURIST report] of the charges against the four defendants in the two cases stemming from the 2007 Kenyan post-election violence [JURIST news archive]. The trials against the four defendants have been set to begin [JURIST report] next April after the ICC expressed its desire to start the two Kenyan trials simultaneously [JURIST report] to avoid any appearance of bias in the March 2013 presidential election.

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