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The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the improbable realization of an old idea. The Rome Statute establishing the Court constitutes a promise to victims of the worst atrocities around the world that they will be assured justice and that accountability will help communities emerge from violence towards peace, from lawlessness towards respect for the rule of law. The EU is a strong supporter of the Court; the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy includes a strong commitment to ending impunity, strengthening accountability and promoting and supporting transitional justice.
The new EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy specifically commits the EU to promote international criminal law and encourage the widest acceptance of the jurisdiction of the ICC. While roughly two thirds of all states have become States Parties, the majority of mankind still lives outside the remit of the Rome Statute. This needs to change. As defined in the Council Decision and subsequent Action Plan of 2011, the EU is committed to continue playing a very active role in bringing about this change.
The ICC is not a substitute for national courts. According to the Rome Statute, it is the primary duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes. The ICC can only intervene where a State is unable or unwilling genuinely to carry out the investigation and prosecute the perpetrators. The EU is committed to advancing this principle of complementarity and contributes therefore to strengthening the capacity of national judicial systems to investigate and prosecute these crimes.
Read more information on EU policy on ICC here.