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International Criminal Court (ICC)

Entering into force in 2002, the International Criminal Court is a permanently active international court in The Hague which was created to investigate international crimes and prosecute the committers of these crimes. The court only discusses crimes committed by natural persons, meaning that it will not pass judgement on countries. The jurisdiction of the court also includes the severest international crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression.

On December 2011, the Estonian diplomat Tiina Intelmann was elected President of the Assembly of States Parties for three years. This is a high and remarkable position that has the function of representing the countries who have joined with the Court in communicating with other international organisations (UN, EU,  African Union, European Council, etc...), aiding the accession of new states and being one of the international spokesperson of the Court. Ambassador Tiina Intelmann has met with the members of the Security Council, many leaders of state, and foreign ministers with the goal of increasing the support for the Court’s activities and reducing impunity when high officials carry out severe international crimes.

On September 2012, in cooperation with the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there was a high-level seminar in Tallinn dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the International Criminal Court which focused on the victims of mass crimes and the reparations paid to them.  In April 2013, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported the victims of gender and sexual violence with 30 000 Euros via trust funds created in the International Criminal Court. The trust fund offers the victims physical as well as psychological or economic support when necessary. The trust fund is active in African countries, where the Criminal Court is currently conducting investigations. By today, more than 80 000 victims and their families have received aid via the fund.

In 2013, Estonia supports the seminars in Dakar (Senegal) and Kampala (Uganda) dedicated for the witness protection of the Criminal Court. The Court is conducting investigations in the conditions of a recent or ongoing conflict where guaranteeing the safety of victims is often problematic. Witness protection is one of the central and most painful questions for the Court. Without effective witness protection, it is impossible to conduct legal proceedings. The aim of the Court is to sign witness protection agreements with a large number of African states which would allow relocating the endangered witnesses to another country. The seminar allows addressing the questions related to witness protection, improve cooperation between the Court and African states and increase the capacity of African states in the area of witness protection. In addition, we support the conferences held by the African human rights NGO Africa Legal Aid that take place in Arusha (Tanzania) and Tunis (Tunesia) in 2013. These conferences aim to help along to improve relations between the International Criminal Court and African states, to increase awareness and reduce prejudice regarding the Court in Africa.

Last updated: 6 May 2014

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