press release

Combating impunity for 10 years: conference on the tenth anniversary of the ICC (4-5 October in Nuremberg)


The international conference “Through the Lens of Nuremberg: The International Criminal Court at its Tenth Anniversary” is marking the ICC’s tenth anniversary in Nuremberg on 4 and 5 October. The Federal Foreign Office has provided support for the conference.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement:

Over the past ten years the International Criminal Court has developed into an important and internationally recognized institution. The Rome Statute represents a major step towards ending impunity. No longer should it be possible for anyone to expect to commit crimes without being brought to justice.
With its first ruling against former militia leader Thomas Lubanga for the recruitment and use of child soldiers, the ICC showed how significant it is when it comes to prosecuting the gravest crimes under international law.
As the Nuremberg war crimes trials laid the foundations of modern international criminal law, Nuremberg is the perfect place for us to honour the ICC’s ten‑year anniversary.

The conference will address issues of international criminal law which the Court currently faces. Representatives of the ICC, such as President Sang‑Hyun Song, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Judge Hans‑Peter Kaul, will speak at the conference, as will international experts and journalists. The conference discussions will also benefit from the experience of prosecutors from international ad‑hoc tribunals and special tribunals: Serge Brammertz (UN Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), Hassan Jallow (UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) and Brenda Hollis (Special Court for Sierra Leone). High‑ranking Kenyan and Ugandan government officials, as well as Arab League and African Union representatives, will offer critical perspectives on the ICC. Legal Adviser Dr Martin Ney will represent the German Government.

Background information on the ICC

The Rome Statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002, established the ICC. The Court is responsible for prosecuting the most serious crimes which affect the international community as a whole. According to the Rome Statute, these are: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. By consensus decision of the review conference held in Kampala in 2010, crimes of aggression will also be included in the future (this will enter into force in 2017 at the earliest).

The ICC is currently trying 16 cases, which relate to seven situations. These cases concern States Parties to the Rome Statute such as Kenya, Uganda, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as non‑States Parties such as Libya, Sudan (UN Security Council referral under article 13 (b) of the Rome Statute) and Côte d’Ivoire (acceptance of ICC jurisdiction pursuant to article 12(3) of the Rome Statute).

The first ICC ruling, issued on 13 March 2012, found former militia leader Thomas Lubanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo guilty of war crimes (recruitment and use of child soldiers). On 10 July the Court sentenced Lubanga to 14 years’ imprisonment.

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