Tunisia: The first North African nation to join International Criminal Court


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June 25, 2011



At the UNITED NATIONS in New York, Tunisia whose demonstrations called ‘Jasmine Revolution’ will become the first North African nation and the fourth member of the Arab League to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 1 September 2011. Tunisia is the 116th country to sign the Rome Statute - the treaty that established the International Criminal Court in Hague in 2002 to investigate and prosecute cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity worldwide.



The International Criminal Court can intervene to a case only where national authorities are virtually unable or unwilling to investigate their domestic serious crimes. The ICC is currently investigating six situations: Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Darfur region in western Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Kenya and Libya.  

Tunisia’s revolution was welcomed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the spark that lit “the profound and dramatic changes” sweeping the Arab world. Tunisia had shown strong leadership in the common fight to end impunity. “This significant step is particularly important in light of the fundamental changes that have occurred in Tunisia this year,” he stated.

Mr.Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, stated the Tunisian government must bestow a role to civil society in drafting national laws which would aid domestic investigations and prosecutions of the most serious crimes. He added that now Tunisia has a framework to reform its domestic criminal justice system.

The Tunisian government declared that they had already started joining other key human rights treaties, including the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Likewise, Amnesty International stimulated Tunisia to abolish the capital punishment and withdraw reservations that obstructs treaties’ implementation which aimed at the ending of discriminations against women and the promoting children’s rights.



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