Odhikar has been commemorating International Justice Day for many years now both on its own and as part of the International Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC). On this day, the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted by the international community to end impunity for perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concerngenocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and aggression, crimes that threaten peace and security, for the people of the countries concerned, the region and the world.
Odhikar’s successful and sustained campaign in Bangladesh has resulted in the ratification of the Rome Statute by Bangladesh in March 2010. On this day, there is much to celebrate in the way of international justice, but on the other hand, serious crimes are continuing to victimise massive numbers in many parts and regions, in Africa, Asia and in Middle East.
On this day, Odhikar reflects on the suffering of millions of children, women and men who were victimised and waited for justice, including victims of international crimes committed in Bangladesh during 1971, irrespective of ethnic, cultural, religious or political ideology. Odhikar resolves to keep up working for justice.
Odhikar notes that State Parties to the Rome Statute as well as other States, who are obliged to cooperate with the ICC, are markedly reluctant to do so. Odhikar calls upon all States to support the ICC in its pursuit for justice and international rule of law.
Odhikar is concerned about the selective approach of the UN Security Council in charging their chartered duties to maintain international peace and security, which impacts on the credibility of the ICC. The Security Council should not be biased in its referral to the ICC, which it has been to this day. If other serious situations are not referred such as the issue of Palestine, the legitimacy of the ICC will be affected for politically motivated actions of the Security Council.
On this day, Odhikar urges those counties, who have not acceded to the Rome Statute to do so and to turn the ICC into a truly universal justice instrument.
DR. C R Abrar
Adilur Rahman Khan