Netherlands Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark

Ten years of the International Criminal Court: much achieved, much still to do

‘The International Criminal Court plays an essential role in preventing crimes, protecting people and bringing perpetrators to justice. It has achieved a great deal, but there is still much to do.’ Foreign minister Frans Timmermans delivered this message in the Knights’ Hall in The Hague at a ceremony to mark the ICC’s 10th anniversary, which was attended by Her Majesty the Queen and the President of Senegal.

Mr Timmermans quoted Martin Luther King: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ ‘That is why all countries need to recognise the Court,’ he added. He also highlighted the plight of people who try to build a normal life after being the victim of horrific crimes. The Netherlands contributes half a million euros to a special fund for victims of crimes against humanity.

A large number of dignitaries, legal officials and diplomats from various countries and representatives of international, regional and civil society organisations attended the ceremony, at the invitation of Mr Timmermans, the President of the Assembly of States Parties and the President of the ICC. In addition to these three speakers, former child soldier Kon Kelei gave a speech and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the audience via a video link.

The ICC, which is based in The Hague, was set up in 2002 as a permanent court to prosecute those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. 121 countries from all over the world are already party to the ICC’s Statute. The Assembly of States Parties is meeting in The Hague from 14 to 22 November.