On the significant milestone of the 10th anniversary of the coming into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma issued the following statement:
“The Commonwealth’s member states to the Rome Statute join the international community in congratulating the International Criminal Court on the 10th anniversary of the coming into force of the Rome Statute.
“Ten years ago today, the Rome Statute came into force, reflecting the will of the international community to create for the first time, a permanent international criminal court to prosecute the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
“The International Criminal Court has faced many challenges since its establishment, but 10 years on and with a growing membership currently numbering 121 states, its existence underscores a determination by the international community to bring justice for victims by ensuring accountability for the worst perpetrators of these crimes.
“As recently as 2009, Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago reaffirmed the rule of law as a Commonwealth core value, essential to achieving international peace and security. As the international community reflects on progress made, we should not forget that the Court’s jurisdiction is designed to be one of ‘last resort’ that is complementary to national criminal jurisdictions.
“As we begin the next decade of the Court’s life, the Commonwealth will continue to work with its member states to promote adherence to Commonwealth values by ensuring that adequate focus and resources are committed to building capacity at the national level. This will enable effective investigations and prosecutions to be conducted and international co-operation enhanced, thereby fully realising the notion of complementarity, and putting an end to impunity.”