ICC: NPWJ welcomes Czech Republic’s adoption of Rome Statute implementing legislation

7 Jan, 2014 | Press Releases

Brussels, 7 January 2014

On 1 January 2014, after several years of delay, the new “Act on International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters” entered into force in the Czech Republic. This new legislation provides for cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), thus completing the country’s implementation of the Rome Statute. The Czech Republic signed the Rome Statute on 13 April 1999. After 10 years of internal political and legal hurdles, it formally deposited its instrument of ratification on 22 July 2009, becoming the final EU member State to join the International Criminal Court.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) congratulate the Czech Republic for this significant step. This concludes a lengthy and complex legislative process and meets one of the recommendations endorsed by all participants at the Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ratification and Domestic Implementation of the ICC Statute that NPWJ organised together with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague in December 2001.

“Four years after having formally ratified the Rome Statute, the Czech Republic has finally enacted the implementing legislation that will enable its full cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the fulfilment of its complementarity obligations. By doing so, the Czech Republic further cements its commitment to justice and the rule of law as a pre-condition for sustainable peace. Importantly, this will contribute to strengthening the ICC, which needs support and cooperation from all States in order to fulfil its investigative and prosecutorial mandate effectively.

“The Czech Republic, like other European States and the European Union, has played an important role in supporting the establishment of the International Criminal Court, through membership of the Like-Minded Group of States at the Rome Diplomatic Conference in 1998. It is critical to enhance the European Union’s role as a frontrunner in the endeavour to make international criminal justice an effective tool to put an end to impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This most recent act by the Czech Republic will contribute to that goal.

“The ongoing challenge now is to make the Court truly universal and to enable it to enhance its impact at a political level, nationally and internationally, in victims’ lives and on the populations that have suffered from crimes under international law. This is critical to strengthen its deterrent effect in potential criminals’ minds, particularly give the political challenges it has faced recently and continues to face at the beginning of 2014. In the coming years, the full cooperation of States Parties and new ratifications and implementation will be essential for the ICC to fulfil its promise of real and fair justice.”

For more information, contact Alison Smith, Director of the International Criminal Justice Program, on asmith@npwj.org, or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32 (0)2 548-3915.