The victims’ mandate of the International Criminal Court: disappointments, concerns and options for the way forward

The International Criminal Court is in trouble. The very foundations contributing to its establishment in 1998 – namely multilateralism and a firm belief in international law – are being undermined by an increasing number of populists and despots. Faced with political attacks, a budget which does not allow the Court to adequately fulfil its mandate and an overall lack of political support or cooperation from many States parties, it is impossible to imagine an institution like the ICC being established today. As such, its mere existence is something to fight for and to defend by all of us who seek an end to impunity and the delivery of justice for victims of the worst crimes. Our movement continues to acknowledge the importance of an institution like the Court and to support its mandate, substantively, operationally and politically. However, for us, it was never about the Court itself, but always about what it represents, namely, a firm belief that genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes cannot go unpunished, and that victims of these crimes have a right to justice, truth and reparation. This is what we and our constituents expect from a permanent international criminal court, bearing in mind the complementary nature of the Court and its jurisdictional limitations.
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