On 23 March 2010, the Government of Bangladesh ratified the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court. Bangladesh’s ratification brings the total number of States Parties to the Court to 111 and is an important step towards universal support for ending impunity, particularly in the South Asian Region.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh should formally deposit the “Instrument of Ratification” to UN Secretary General’s office before 1 April 2010. To cooperate effectively with the ICC, Bangladesh should also ratify the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court (APIC).

Statement by Sergio Stanzani and Niccolo’ Figa-Talamanca, President and Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty congratulate Bangladesh for this very important step, which concludes a lengthy and complex legislative process and has involved sustained commitment from all levels of Bangladesh society. Bangladesh’s history has been scarred by political turmoil and military coups: its decision to stand on the side of victims by ratifying the Rome Statute is another important sign of positive changing after the restoration of democracy in 1991. It is also leading the way regionally as the first State Party from South Asia.

“The ratification demonstrates Bangladesh’s clear commitment to justice and the rule of law as a pre-condition for sustainable peace and marks a further significant step forward in the international community’s efforts to put an end to impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This commitment is also of significant importance given the country’s recent history and represents a further guarantee that turmoil and violence perpetrated during military coups should be never again be tolerated.

“We look forward to welcoming Bangladesh as a member of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties at the Review Conference in Kampala in May 2010. Significantly, Bangladesh’s ratification will enter into force on 1 June, during the conference itself. Time is of the essence now for other States to draw inspiration from Bangladesh’s example and ratify the Rome Statute with all possible speed.

We urge States to ratify before the end of March, which would enable them to join Bangladesh as new States Parties during the Review Conference and ensure more active participation both in the Assembly of States Parties and in the work of the ICC itself. We look forward to Bangladesh’s participation in the Rome Statute system and to it cooperating fully with the ICC and fulfilling its complementary obligations”

For more information, please contact Alison Smith, Coordinator of NPWJ’s International Criminal Justice Program, on asmith@npwj.org or +32-(0)2-548-3912, or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-39 14.