UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Thursday urged [statement] member states to ratify or accede to the Rome Statute [UN backgrounder], the treaty that established the International Criminal Court [official website; JURIST backgrounder]. The Rome Statute was signed by 139 States [JURIST backgrounders], but 43 States have neither signed nor acceded to it. Ban said that the Rome Statute must be universally accepted before the ICC can be fully effective. Ban said that the ICC faces additional challenges [UN News Centre report], such as delivering judgments and justice without undue delay, due to a lack of necessary resources and staffing shortages:
Our commitment to international criminal justice is not only a commitment to strengthened international cooperation and dialogue, but also to strengthened domestic human rights and rule of law systems. At this difficult moment, we must remain steadfast and ensure that we are on the right side of history.Since 2002, the ICC has tried cases involving individuals charged with war crimes when countries are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute.
In August ICC officials reported to the UN General Assembly that the ICC is investigating eight situations and that eight more situations were under preliminary examination. Last November Ban urged [statement] nations around the globe to carry out the rulings made by the ICC. Speaking before 500 high-level officials at a ceremony for the tenth anniversary of the ICC, Ban praised the court for bringing perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice. However, Ban also emphasized that for the ICC to be effective, governments need to cooperate with the court to make sure its decisions are carried out.