International Criminal Court Opens for Business

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Thursday, May 1, 2003
Bruce Zagaris
On March 11, 2003, the International Criminal Court held its opening session as the world’s first permanent tribunal to try war crimes. During the opening sessions the ICC’s 18 judges were sworn in. Already 200 complaints have been lodged with the ICC since the Rome Statue came into effect in July 2002. Representatives of 89 countries have ratified the mooted privately, the states parties still must choose the chief prosecutor and registrar. The prosecutor must be able to instill confidence, especially among countries that are not yet members, including the U.S. According to ICC officials, the U.S. Government turned down an invitation to send a diplomatic representative to the proceedings. The group elected Philippe Kirsch, a Canadian international law specialist, as its president. Kirsch presided over the deliberations of the draft Rome Treaty before it was signed in 1998.