The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) celebrates July 17 as the annual Day of International Criminal Justice. This year’s observance marks the 23rd anniversary of the international community’s adoption of the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Located in The Hague in The Netherlands, the ICC is the first and only permanent international criminal court that investigates and prosecutes individuals accused of the most serious crimes of international concern — namely, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression — when States are unable or unwilling to do so. Following its adoption in 1998, the Rome Statute entered into force in 2002. Today, 123 States are Parties to the Rome Statute and meet in the Assembly of States Parties, the ICC’s primary legislative and oversight body. To this date, fourteen situations are under judicial investigation by the ICC, and thirteen are under preliminary examination.
On the 2021 Day of International Criminal Justice, the Auschwitz Institute emphasizes the enduring need for robust criminal justice mechanisms at the global level. Whether through the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and/or other bodies working to combat impunity and realize justice for victims, AIPG recognizes the valuable contributions of the individuals and institutions engaged in the prevention and fight against mass atrocities by holding those responsible for humankind’s most serious crimes to account. As stated by AIPG’s Academic Programs Associate for Latin America and International Law, Ms. Mariana Salazar:
Criminal justice for atrocity crimes is a key tool for the prevention of their recurrence in the future. The International Criminal Court plays an essential role in the fight against impunity for these crimes, by investigating and prosecuting their perpetrators when States are unable or unwilling to do so.