Today, on 17 July 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) marks the annual Day of International Criminal Justice. On behalf of the ICTY, President Carmel Agius acknowledges this important day dedicated to celebrating the development and achievements of international criminal justice institutions, and the landmark steps taken by the international community in the fight against impunity.
The establishment of the ICTY in 1993 was one such groundbreaking step. As the first international criminal tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, the ICTY has not only been the first tribunal of the modern age to embody and implement the aims of international criminal justice; it has also paved the way for the creation of other international courts and tribunals, in particular the International Criminal Court, whose founding treaty – the Rome Statute – was adopted on this day 19 years ago. Together with the ICTY, these courts and tribunals have helped to transform the political and legal landscape such that holding senior political and military leaders to account before courts of law is increasingly the expectation, rather than the exception.
The Day of International Criminal Justice poses an opportunity for those who support justice around the world to make their voices heard. The fight against impunity has only recently begun and much remains to be done at the international and domestic level to bring to justice those who perpetrate war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide. Now, more than ever, it is important that the international community reiterates its commitment to international criminal justice and strengthens its efforts in this respect.
President Agius wishes to thank and commend all those who are currently involved in the championing of international criminal justice around the world, and to encourage them to continue in this most important of endeavours.