Statement: Coalition Turns 25

Coalition for the ICC
On International Justice Day, Coalition for the ICC with its civil society members released a joint statement to commemorate its 25 years of fighting against impunity.

Twenty-five years ago, civil society came together to advance a joint goal of justice for “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole” that, while urgently needed, faced many obstacles and strong opposition. This effort led to extraordinary results.

In February 1995, a group of 25 civil society organizations from around the world founded the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC). The group began advocating for a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) that would be independent, impartial, effective, and fair, based on the early experience of the two ad hoc tribunals set up to address horrific crimes in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda. This 25th anniversary of the CICC follows the recent observation of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. In just two years, the Coalition grew to 450 organizations, and the movement to establish a permanent court gained momentum.

In 1998, global civil society gathered in Rome, having successfully urged governments to hold a diplomatic conference to establish the ICC.

There are several provisions in the Rome Statute of the ICC that many believe owe their existence to the significant efforts and advocacy of civil society. Some of these include:

  • The independence of the Prosecutor;
  • The rights and protection of victims and witnesses;
  • The activation of the Court’s jurisdiction independent of the UN Security Council;
  • Progressive gender justice and norms to address crimes of sexual violence; and
  • The inclusion of war crimes committed within situations of non-international armed conflict.

There are very few other international campaigns that have brought together partners with different views and sometimes, differing agendas that have succeeded like the Coalition for the ICC has.

Today, on its 25th anniversary, the Coalition represents more than 2,500 civil society organizations across the globe. Together, we have made critical advancements toward the realization of a fair, effective, and independent ICC, to act as a court of last resort. As individual organizations, our work is better for our ability to draw on a diverse network of expertise and experience. Members of the Coalition are very proud of what we have achieved prior to the Rome Conference, during that time and since then.

The remarkable role that civil society has played in the ICC process owes a debt of gratitude to our Coalition members, the Coalition Secretariat staff who have been instrumental in the Coalition’s growth and to Bill Pace. As the Convenor for the Coalition’s first 20+ years, Bill always sought a way forward with great energy and dedication to the cause and, perhaps most importantly, as the “guarantor” of the integrity of a process and of a shared method.

The challenges to our common vision of a more just world have not lessened. They have changed, as much as the multilateral world order is changing. New threats and challenges must and will be faced with the same commitment that civil society brought forward all those years ago.

Civil society organizations and human rights defenders, who are part of the CICC and/or working to support victims and the ICC are too often subject to intimidation and harassment in several countries. States and other stakeholders must protect and defend them from such attacks.

Today, the Coalition for the ICC strives to recapture the “spirit of Rome,” pledging to provide greater political, legal, and moral support for international justice over the next 25 years (and beyond) and to assure victims their access to justice and that perpetrators would be held accountable.

On this occasion, the CICC renews its appeal to the governments of the world that have not ratified the Rome Statute, and have not contributed to building the Court, to accede to the Rome statute, and to become part of the global justice movement.

The CICC appeals to States Parties to renew their governments’ financial commitment to the ICC to enable it to effectively execute the mandate they have given it, without political or arbitrary limitations to an annual budget.

On this 25th anniversary, the CICC continues to support the centrality of victims, including their meaningful participation in the Rome Statute system and the right to reparations.


Read more on #CICC25 and International Justice Day 2020

25 Years Fighting for Global Justice

Reflecting on 25 Years of the CICC

International Justice Day- Justice Hangs in the Balance in Sudan