Support for justice inspired by a troubled history
It is no coincidence that Europe, the continent whose wars gave rise to the idea of international justice, is among the best represented regions at the International Criminal Court (ICC). A vast majority of European states have joined the ICC. Yet much work remains to be done in advancing national laws to prosecute those suspected of grave crimes.
European states are active in the Assembly of States Parties, the ICC’s governing body. Civil society advocates for these states to provide and promote diplomatic, political, and financial support for and cooperation with the ICC, including for many within the European Union, which plays a leading role in the fight for global justice.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands plays host to the ICC, along with several other temporary, ad hoc, international criminal tribunals in The Hague. The International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, established under the auspices of the United Nations, was a forerunner to the permanent ICC in its mission to hold perpetrators of grave crimes during the 1990s Yugoslav conflict to account.
The Coalition’s co-headquarters is located in The Hague where it, along with a number of civil society members, monitors judicial and institutional developments at the ICC. Civil society in The Hague is uniquely situated to engage the diplomatic community, share information, and hold and participate in events that attract a range of stakeholders. The Coalition and the Asser Institute have a long running Supranational Criminal Law lecture series in The Hague.
International Criminal Court situations
ICC situations in the Europe region include an investigation in Georgia, a preliminary examination in Ukraine, and a preliminary examination into alleged detainee abuse by United Kingdom troops in Iraq between 2003-08.
Campaign for Global Justice
The Coalition’s Europe regional office coordinates local civil society members’ activities to promote Rome Statute ratification and implementation across Europe and Central Asia. The region consists of 42 ICC member states. Six countries - Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Monaco, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan - have signed but not yet ratified the Rome Statute. Six have neither signed nor ratified the treaty: Azerbaijan; Belarus; Kazakhstan; Turkmenistan; Turkey; and the Holy See, which, like Palestine, has treat-making rights at the UN.
33 European and Central Asian countries have fully implemented the Rome Statute into national legislation and another 14 have partially done so, meaning much work remains to be done in the region. Enacting implementing legislation is crucial for national systems to exercise jurisdiction over Rome Statute crimes – either committed on their territories or by their citizens elsewhere - to deliver justice to victims, and provide the Court with necessary cooperation and assistance.
ICC membership per sub-regions
EU member states and Western Europe
Almost all countries in Western Europe are states parties to the Rome Statute, including all EU member states and Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, and Switzerland. Our work in the region is focused on encouraging ratification by the remaining non-ICC member states as well as the development of full implementing legislation by all states.
South Caucasus and Eastern Europe
The Coalition engages in a combination of implementation and ratification-related work in the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe.
Georgia and Moldova are the only ICC member states in the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe sub-region. Armenia and Ukraine have both signed the Rome Statute but have yet to ratify it. Ukraine, meanwhile, has made two special declarations under Article 12.3 of the Rome Statute, giving the ICC limited jurisdiction over alleged crimes against civilian demonstrators from 2013-14 and a multilateral armed conflict from February 2014 onward.
Ukraine acceded to the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the ICC (APIC) in 2007, becoming the first and only, non-state party to the Rome Statute to join the ICC cooperation and access treaty.
Western Balkans and Turkey
All the countries in this sub-region, with the exception of Turkey, are ICC member states. The Coalition works with civil society organizations and other partners in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia (FYROM), Montenegro, and Serbia to increase awareness of the role of the ICC and enhance support for its mandate, promoting exchange of experiences and knowledge.
Turkey has indicated its intention to join the ICC on several occasions. The Coalition has been working with the Turkish National Coalition for the ICC and its members to call on the government to back up its stated commitment to international justice by acceding to the Rome Statute.
Russia & Central Asia
Tajikistan is the only ICC member state in Central Asia, but the country has yet to fully implement the Rome Statute into national law or to ratify the APIC.
While the Russian government signed the Rome Statute in 2000, the ratification process was never completed.
Civil society activities
Europe has some of the most active civil society groups working to promote human rights and international justice. The Coalition has a network of almost 250 member organizations in Europe, many working through almost 14 national coalitions for the ICC.
In close cooperation with our Europe regional office in Brussels, civil society campaigns to promote the ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute, both in Europe and beyond. We provide support to national ICC networks and member organizations to ensure that implementation processes are open, transparent, and involve civil society.
We also work to ensure that the ICC receives the cooperation that it needs and that victims’ demands for justice are met. This includes raising awareness of the ICC mandate and role, promoting cooperation with and support to the Court, and organizing events to support the fight against impunity through the Rome Statute system.