The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, jointly with Bucharest University’s Faculty of Law and the International Law and International Relations Association, organized on 27 November 2012 an international conference on “The International Criminal Court: 10 Years Since the Entry into Force of the Rome Statute; 115 Years Since the Birth of Vespasian V. Pella, Founder of International Criminal Law”. The event, attended by Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice and former prime minister of Jordan, was opened by the Dean of the Law Faculty, Flavius Antoniu Baias.
The conference is one of the events the MFA has devoted to the 10th anniversary of the ICC’s Statute of Rome, to marking 115 years since the birth and 60 years since the death of Romanian diplomat and jurist Vespasian V. Pella, promoter of the idea of setting up a permanent international criminal court.
Bogdan Aurescu, MFA State Secretary for Strategic Affairs, delivered an address on the life and work of Vespasian V. Pella, underscoring his remarkable contribution to international criminal law. Pella’s outlook on organizing and running an international criminal court on a permanent basis largely coincides with the structure of the jurisdictional criminal body created under the Statute of Rome, hence the topicality of the idea fostered by Pella. “Historical experience has shown that Vespasian V. Pella was correct in his vision. An international criminal court is a necessary instrument in promoting peace and security, an adequate measures for human rights protection at world level, given its preventative, punitive and sanctioning character,” said State Secretary Aurescu.
“The Statute of Rome has been adopted by 121 states-parties so far, and the effort to achieve universality is going on. Universality means that more and more states should be encouraged to ratify the Statute. The commitment of the international community, as a whole, is essential for fighting impunity at world level and making the International Criminal Court stronger. Romania plays an important role in this respect, since it is a promoter of universality in the structures of the Assembly of States-Parties. Romania supports and encourages the states to ratify and fully implement the Statute of Rome,” Bogdan Aurescu said.
The Romanian official also brought up the initiative launched in 2007 – a year entirely devoted to the personality of Vespasian V. Pella – i.e. to name a room for him at the new headquarters of the ICC in The Hague, in homage to the Romanian diplomat and jurist’s life and work.
In his address, Bogdan Aurescu noted that at present the ICC is not just a community of states and ideals: “The work of the International Criminal Court in this anniversary year, illustrated by the verdict and the judgment rendered in the case Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, proves again that this Court is today more than a community of states and ideals. It eloquently proves that it is a fully functional institution and a key actor in fighting impunity in the case of the most serious crimes the entire international community is concerned about. It represents a guarantee for the victims of the most serious atrocities that justice prevails and the culprits are put to trial for their deeds, so that human rights and human dignity should be protected.”
Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh in his turn spoke of Vespasian Pella’s major contribution to developing international criminal law and presented his outlook on the future of the ICC and about the prevailing tendencies in international law. “International criminal courts, including the ICC, attract public opinion’s attention as this is where law meets politics, touching sensitive spots and deep-rooted beliefs. A mass murderer may be considered by others a national hero – which lends international criminal law its subjective aspect, unanimous reactions being so much more difficult to obtain in a complex international context,” said Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, adding he hoped the ICC can, based on leadership and moral courage, sow seeds of hope in an unsettled world.