On July 17, the world observes the Day of International Criminal Justice, or simply the Day of International Justice. It is celebrated to mark the anniversary of the International Criminal Court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, which was adopted on this day in 1998. Four years later the ICC was established as an independent judicial institution empowered to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression. It began operation in 2003.
Interestingly, the US is not a state party to the Rome Statute. It participated in the five weeks of intense negotiations that created the ICC but was one of only seven countries – along with China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, and Yemen – that voted against the Statute. Currently, 123 countries are members of the court based in The Hague, Netherlands. Of them, 33 are from Africa, 19 from Asia-Pacific, 18 from Eastern Europe, 28 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 25 from Western Europe and North America.
What is #17July? The Day of International Criminal Justice.— Int'l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) July 16, 2021
On this day in 1998, the Rome Statute was adopted. This international treaty created the #ICC and the @TFVictims. Share this video about our history: https://t.co/XxbK6HkKhm#MoreJustWorldpic.twitter.com/LABz7OQCQA
The celebration is an effort to bring together people who support justice and aid in preventing crime that threatens peace, safety and well-being.
Theme And Goal
The ICC has launched a digital campaign via its social media accounts to mark the day on the theme of building a “More Just World”. It said the campaign aims to encourage people to “reflect, act, learn and connect for the cause of peace and justice”. In line with the campaign, the Twitter handle of the Court has hashtagged every tweet around the theme.
It has a dedicated web page for people to get involved and get inspired by reading stories of real-life survivors working for peace and giving back to their communities after facing conflict.
According to Human Rights Watch, the ICC has so far opened more than two dozen cases, and pre-trial or trial proceedings are ongoing in three cases. But it faces steep challenges in carrying out its mandate in absence of a police force. It has to rely on states for cooperation in arrests.