No Peace Without Justice mourns the passing of Arthur Robinson, friend of victims and enemy of impunity

11 May, 2014 | Press Releases

Brussels, 11 April 2014

No Peace Without Justice mourns with great sadness the passing of Arthur Robinson, former Prime Minister and, later, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and former ICC Trust Fund for Victims Board Member. We join others in extending our deepest condolences to his family and friends, and to his many colleagues and friends around the world.

Arthur Robinson was a critical contributor to the establishment and development of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Without his dedication, it is unlikely we would have a court at all – certainly not one that has the capacity to make a decisive contribution to peace and accountability throughout the world. In 1989, further to his initiative as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, a UN resolution was adopted by consensus calling for the creation of an International Criminal Court, which paved the way to the negotiation and adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998.

We had the honour to work closely with him since the Inter-Governmental Regional Caribbean Conference in support of the immediate signature and ratification of the ICC Rome Treaty, co-organised by No Peace Without Justice and the government of Trinidad and Tobago, in Port of Spain, on 15-17 March 1999. Like many others, for years afterwards we continued to count on his inspiration, which revived people’s spirits and made us remember why we were fighting this fight in the first place. It was for this reason that we awarded him the NPWJ International Justice Prize in 2002, grateful for the opportunity to recognise his unique place and role in the fight against impunity. Before an audience of over 140 persons, including Permanent Representatives to the United Nations from 100 countries, President Arthur N.R. Robinson declared, “this is the happiest day of my life“, shortly after receiving the award during a ceremony held in New York.

Thanks to President Robinson’s longstanding commitment and support, Trinidad and Tobago was the second country in the world to ratify the ICC’s founding treaty and, in February 2006, the first country in the Caribbean to enact ICC Implementing legislation, therefore fulfilling its emergent obligations under the Rome Statute. In recent years, he persevered in his commitment to justice by actively campaigning for continued support for the Court, particularly among Latin American and Caribbean States.

Human Rights and International criminal justice has lost a true friend and advocate. We mourn Arthur Robinson’s passing and urge all who knew him and whose lives he touched to carry on his legacy.