Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court–a global institution that works to bring justice to the most vulnerable victims around the world.

Today world leaders, international NGOs, and civil society organizations working on international justice gathered at the United Nations Headquarters to celebrate and commemorate this great achievement and the progress the ICC has achieved. Today’s gathering was also a chance for leaders to look at the challenges facing the court and to reiterate their commitment and support to the court to continue to deliver justice to those who need it most.

This commemoration of the Rome Statute is happening at a critical time in our history, as crises are escalating on a global scale and the crimes that the ICC seeks to prevent are becoming more prevalent and widespread.

From Ukraine to Sudan, war and conflict have shown its ugliest form while dictators and military juntas have committed the most horrific crimes. This sad reality makes the ICC more important and relevant than ever before.

Despite the noticeable progress the ICC has made during the last 25 years, there is still a long  way to go for the ICC to be more effective in holding criminals accountable and to bring justice to the victims of unspeakable tragedies of serious international crimes such as the genocide in Sudan.

As we commemorate the ICC we must also look critically at the challenges, shortcomings, and areas to be improved for the court to meet its obligation.

Despite the noticeable work on the investigation in the case of Darfur, including the issuance of multiple arrest warrants for those responsible, most of the arrest warrants remain pending. Because of this, the criminals remain at large and the victims and survivors remain unprotected and have continued to face attacks for more than two decades.

The effectiveness and sustainability of the ICC lies in the role, support, and effectiveness of the state’s parties and their commitment to uphold their legal and moral obligation.

For the ICC to be effective and achieve the progress that is required to deliver adequate justice and restore dignity to the victims, state parties must take on a greater responsibility to provide financial support and legal support in the form of cooperation and other necessary support the ICC needs. 

Equally, member states of the UN Security Council must provide support and uphold their obligation, particularly by supporting the UNSC referral cases such as Darfur, and they must take cooperation seriously to enable the ICC to effectively investigate, implement arrest warrants, and provide reparation and compensation to the victims before it is too late.

It is worth noting that the current crisis in Sudan is the cost of impunity and the failure of the state parties to support the ICC to apprehend those who perpetrate the world’s worst crimes in Darfur: genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

As serious international crimes are rapidly spreading in Sudan today, the ICC represents a great opportunity, not only to pursue justice for the victims, but to apprehend the perpetrators and prevent future crimes.

In commemoration of the Rome Statute, we would like to take this opportunity to call on the state parties and the member states of the ICC and the UNSC to take immediate steps to pursue accountability for those responsible for the past and present crimes committed against the people of Darfur.

As ordinary citizens, we have an equally important role to play. In demanding justice, we must continue to fight and speak up to our leaders and hold them accountable to their obligation towards justice and accountability for serious international crimes, regardless of where they take place.

Pursuing accountability for genocide crimes is not an easy task. The ICC made it possible, but we must collectively demand it, fight for it, and sustain our support to the ICC to make it possible.

As we commemorate, we must challenge ourselves to commit to making the next 25 years of the court more effective and sustainable.

At DWAG we are pleased to be a part of this global movement for justice, and we are pleased to be a part of this momentous occasion: the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Rome Statute.

We would like to reiterate our unshakable commitment to justice and our support to the ICC, not only to pursue justice in Darfur, but to protect and deliver justice to other victims across the world.