Brussels, 17 July 2023 (TDI): On the occasion of International Criminal Justice Day, Belgium reaffirms its support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its mission to uphold international law and bring perpetrators of the most serious crimes to justice.

Celebrated on July 17th, this day marks the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998, which established the ICC as the world’s first permanent and independent international court for prosecuting grave offenses, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

With 123 states now having ratified the Rome Statute, the Court has played a significant role in preventing the commission of new crimes, although challenges still remain.

Belgium emphasizes that the Court cannot function effectively without the cooperation of member states.

Such cooperation is not only an obligation enshrined in the Rome Statute but also a shared duty in the collective fight against impunity and the pursuit of justice for victims of heinous crimes.

In line with its commitment to bolstering the ICC’s efforts, Belgium recently signed a new bilateral enhanced cooperation agreement with the Registry of the Court.

This marks the eighth enhanced cooperation agreement that Belgium has concluded with an organ of the ICC.

The agreement focuses on the “release of persons,” addressing the reception of individuals released at the conclusion of their sentences, following an acquittal or the dropping of charges, onto Belgian territory.

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Belgium emphasizes the crucial role of strengthened cooperation frameworks between the ICC and member states, which can enhance the efficiency of international justice proceedings and reduce associated costs.

The country calls upon all States Parties to work together in this direction, thus bolstering the ICC’s capacity to ensure that those responsible for the most serious crimes can no longer evade accountability.

Demonstrating its ongoing commitment to supporting victims of atrocious crimes, Belgium has pledged an additional voluntary contribution of €500,000 to the Trust Fund for Victims this year.

Belgium has consistently prioritized the well-being and rights of victims, and the Trust Fund plays a crucial role in providing reparations, psychological support, and material assistance to victims and their families.

Belgium views its support for the Trust Fund as a direct reflection of its steadfast commitment to the cause.