Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran
for the International Criminal Court
History of the Establishment of the International Criminal Court
In July 1998 – at a United Nations conference in Rome, Italy – governments overwhelmingly approved a
Statute to establish a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). On April 11, 2002, the Rome Statute
of the ICC received more than the 60
ratifications required, and the treaty then entered into force on July 1, 2002.
The “Road to Rome” was a long and often contentious one. While the Court has roots in the early 19th
Century, the story best begins in 1872, when Gustav Moynier, one of the founders of the International
Committee of the Red Cross, proposed a permanent court in response to the crimes of the Franco-Prussian
War. The next serious call came after World War I, with the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Framers of the
Treaty envisaged an ad hoc international court to try the Kaiser and German war criminals. Then, after World
War II, the Allies set up the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals to try Axis war criminals. The world, reflecting
the Holocaust, cried “Never again!” The call for an international institution to try individuals
for the most heinous crimes resonated throughout the world – and many
thought the founding of the United Nations would bring the world closer to
a permanent Court. Yet more
than 50 years would pass before the world’s leaders would meet to
prepare a treaty establishing a permanent International Criminal Court.
are some highlights of the Road to Rome … and the creation of the ICC.
Oct. 1946 Soon after the Nuremberg Judgment, an international congress meets in Paris and calls for the adoption of an international criminal code prohibiting crimes against humanity and for the
Dec. 9, 1948 The UN General Assembly (GA) adopts the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment
10, 1948 The GA adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, detailing human rights and
– 1954 The ILC
drafts statutes for an ICC, but opposition from powerful states on both
sides of the Cold War stymies the effort and the GA effectively abandons
the effort pending agreement on a definition of the crime of aggression
and an international Code of Crimes.
The GA agrees on a definition of aggression.
1989 The end of the Cold War brings a dramatic increase in the number of UN peace-keeping
operations and a world where the idea of establishing an International Criminal Court is more
June 1989 Motivated in part by an effort to combat drug trafficking, Trinidad and Tobago resurrects the proposal for an ICC. The GA asks the ILC to prepare a draft statute.
Wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, including clear violations
of the Genocide and
Geneva Conventions, lead
the UN Security Council to establish a temporary ad
hoc tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (in 1993) and strengthen
discussions for a permanent Court.
The ILC submits a draft Statute for an ICC to the GA.
The war in Rwanda leads the UN Security Council to establish a
second ad hoc tribunal for
The ILC presents a final draft Statute on the ICC to the GA and
recommends that a conference of plenipotentiaries be convened to negotiate
a treaty to enact the Statute. The
GA establishes an ad hoc
committee on the ICC to review the draft Statute.
NGO Coalition is formed to coordinate the efforts of human rights
organizations such as Amnesty
International, Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos, Fédération
Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme, Human Rights Watch,
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, No Peace Without Justice,
Parliamentarians for Global Action, Rights & Democracy and the
Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice. Mr. William Pace, Executive Director
of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, is appointed
ad hoc committee holds two
2-week meetings at UN headquarters. In
December 1995, the GA establishes a three year Preparatory Committee (PrepCom)
from March 1996 until April 1998, to finalize a text to be presented at a
conference of plenipotentiaries.
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