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Civil society activists Calls on South Sudan to Join the International Criminal Court

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  • Civil Society Says New Government’s Priorities Should Include Accession to Rome Statute

Special correspondent

New York, USA—The Coalition for the International Criminal Court today called on the Republic of South Sudan (RSS) to prioritize acceding to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)—the world’s first and only permanent international court able to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. By acceding to the Rome Statute, the government of RSS would demonstrate its commitment to the global fight against impunity and promoting the rule of law.

“Since its independence on 9 July 2011, the RSS has demonstrated and expressed its commitment to adhering to the rule of law and protecting human rights by ratifying certain human rights instruments including the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction,” said Lamony.

In a letter dated 5 December 2011 to RSS President H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Coalition—a global network of more than 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC and improved access to justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity—urged the government of RSS to begin the accession process of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty..

To date, 120 states worldwide have joined the Rome Statute, Cape Verde, the Philippines, Moldova, and Vanuatu being the most recent. As part of its December 2011 Universal Ratification Campaign—a targeted grassroots and civil society-building campaign that focuses national and global advocacy initiatives urging a particular state (or several) each month to join the Rome Statute system—the Coalition’s situations advisor and outreach liaison for Africa Steve Lamony undertook an advocacy mission to Juba, South Sudan.

“Officials should now prioritize acceding to the Rome Statute and the international community is ready to assist.”

In line with the government’s commitments, and given that the Rome Statute is an important tool to advance justice and human rights, the Coalition urged President Salva Kiir to ensure a prompt start to South Sudan’s accession process.

“Joining the Rome Statute system would allow the RSS to incorporate and integrate into its development the principles of the rule of law,” said Edmund Yakani, program coordinator of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO). “It would allow for the country to advance efforts in establishing and institutionalizing accountability.”

As a state party, RSS would be able to actively participate in the annual Assembly of States Parties (ASP)—the ICC’s governing body—during which states make important decisions in relation to the administration of the ICC, including the election of judges, prosecutors and other Court officials.

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