ICC receives 2017 Stockholm Human Rights Award

November 23, 2017, 10:20 am

On 20 November 2017, the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court") was awarded the 2017 Stockholm Human Rights Award, in recognition of its work advancing "international justice and strengthening respect for human rights." The award is bestowed annually by the Swedish Bar Association, the International Bar Association and the International Legal Assistance Consortium. The ICC is the first international judicial institution to be granted this honour.

During a ceremony held in Stockholm, Sweden, His Majesty King Carl Gustaf of Sweden bestowed the award upon the ICC in the presence of Queen Silvia of Sweden and eminent guests. ICC President Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and ICC Registrar Herman von Hebel received the Award, in the form of a glass sculpture and a diploma, jointly on behalf of the Court.

During the ceremony, Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association Anne Ramberg said: "The ICC exercises jurisdiction only when a member state is unwilling or unable to address the matter by itself. In those cases the ICC is a necessary institution to hold accountable those who commit serious violations of international law such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity." Describing ongoing conflicts and tragedies across the globe, she added: "Against this background, this year's laureate, the International Criminal Court is particularly deserving".

In her acceptance speech on behalf of the Court, ICC President Fernández de Gurmendi stated: "The International Criminal Court is extremely grateful for this wonderful award. It gives us strength to continue our work, and we hope that it will also be an inspiration to all those who will be consolidating the system of international criminal justice in the 21st century". Recalling that the investigation and prosecution of the gravest crimes is a collective endeavour, she said: "The ideals of international law alone will not bring justice and respect for human rights. Hard work at the Court and constant and strong support by the international community are required […] Impunity is no longer an option for the perpetrators of atrocious acts. Accountability for the gravest crimes has become a real possibility and, most importantly, a global expectation."

ICC Prosecutor Bensouda joined the President and the Registrar in thanking the organisers for this prestigious award and for their support for the work of the Court. "We owe it to ourselves, our children and to future generations to nurture the ICC so that it carries on with its crucial work to fight against impunity for the world's most heinous crimes and to foster the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice. To this end, the 2017 Stockholm Human Rights Award makes an important contribution, and reinforces our resolve as we continue to execute our mandate under the Rome Statute, without fear or favour, and with utmost tenacity", she added.

ICC Registrar von Hebel spoke of how victims are at the core of the ICC's work, and the role the Court plays in making justice happen for those who need it most. "One of the most important elements is that victims can speak to the Court. Over 14,000 victims have participated in Court proceedings so far", he said, later adding: "this work is about the victims of the crimes that are being committed. If the victims have the hope and expectation that this Court is able to bring justice in their name, that is the major achievement of the Court".

This Stockholm Human Rights Award recognizes the importance of international criminal justice, and the efforts of the ICC to fight against impunity for the worst crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. Progress has been made in this regard, but much more work remains to be done. The Court is firmly committed to accountability and a more just world in accordance with its mandate.

-ICC Press Release


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