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 24th anniversary of the international community’s adoption of the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Rome Statute codified the four grave crimes commonly referred to as “mass atrocities”: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.
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. The Court, through international criminal justice, aims to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable and helps prevent these atrocities from happening again.
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.
Through trainings and technical assistance, AIPG works with State officers, civil society, and other actors around the world on the concept, scope, and documentation of these international crimes, as well as on tools to prevent them. Justice for past crimes is essential for downstream prevention, and AIPG creates awareness of the many ways by which States may strengthen their investigation and prosecution of these crimes. AIPG also recognizes that the ICC’s work is essential to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice.
On the 2022 Day of International Criminal Justice, AIPG emphasizes the enduring need for robust criminal justice mechanisms at the global level to combat impunity and achieve justice for victims. AIPG recognizes the valuable contributions of the individuals and institutions who engage in the 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:
2022 has evidenced that war is still a deeply concerning global reality and that international crimes are being committed on a daily basis. Collaboration among States, international tribunals and organizations, civil society, academia, and the private sector is more essential than ever to ensure justice and prevent recurrence.