Belgium supporting the ICC since its creation 20 years ago

On July 1, 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) began its activities in The Hague following the entry into force of the Rome Statute. Twenty years later, 123 States have ratified the Statute and the Court has demonstrated its raison d'être.

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The ICC acts as a complement to national jurisdictions, which have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes. It has made a significant contribution to the solidification of international criminal jurisprudence, for example on crimes against children.

To date, the Court has handed down ten convictions, four acquittals and has completed four reparations proceedings for victims. It currently has three preliminary examinations and seventeen situations under investigation in all regions of the world.

Strengthening the rule of law and the fight against impunity are among the top priorities of Belgian foreign policy. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, in charge of Foreign and European Affairs: "It is for this reason that Belgium supports, since its creation, this unique and essential judicial institution that is the International Criminal Court, a permanent court with a universal vocation and complementary to national criminal jurisdictions. This support reflects Belgium's commitment to ending the most serious violations of international humanitarian law. Belgium supports the ICC through significant diplomatic and judicial cooperation. Our country was among the first States to ratify the Rome Statute and has been working ever since to consolidate the Court's legal framework, notably by successfully proposing several amendments to include new war crimes in the Statute, such as the use of biological weapons.

By supporting the fight against impunity, the ICC helps prevent new crimes and contributes to laying the foundations for lasting peace. Victims deserve an effective system to hold accountable those responsible for the worst atrocities.

As the first international criminal court with a universal mandate, the ICC has faced many challenges. The review process of the ICC and the Rome Statute, which Belgium fully supports and actively participates in, should enable the ICC to better face these challenges in the future and to carry out its mission.


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