International criminal justice came into being for the purpose of curbing some of the most serious international crimes. Switzerland and Italy strongly support the principles and structures charged with implementing the international criminal justice system, specifically, the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC is based on the 1998 Rome Statute, which entered into force 20 years ago: on 1 July 2002. It is the only permanent court with jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute serious international crimes that involve not only directly affected victims, but the entire international community. The Rome Statute provides, in particular, for the "principle of complementarity”, according to which the ICC has jurisdiction to try international crimes only when States are unwilling, or unable, to prosecute them. "Universal jurisdiction", on the other hand, allows States to exercise criminal jurisdiction regardless of where the alleged crime was committed and the nationality of the accused and victims. Through the work of the ICC and the Special Tribunals, the realization has further developed internationally that the effective enjoyment of human rights is inextricably linked to their concrete protection rather than their mere formal enunciation.
The international criminal justice system is dependent on the willingness of individuals to cooperate with each other and with relevant international institutions, such as the ICC. The work of the ICC and other relevant institutions has become much more complex and delicate over the years. The ICC has repeatedly been the target of attacks aimed at discrediting its work. Russia's aggression against Ukraine has been a dramatic reminder of the importance of international criminal justice. What impact will the Russian-Ukrainian conflict have on the evolution of international criminal justice? What is its role with respect to the peace process? These are some of the issues that will be the subject of public debate.
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