December 18th, 2018

NDP Statement on the Twentieth Anniversary of Canada's Signing of the Rome Statute

Hélène Laverdière, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, made the following statement:

“Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Canada’s signing of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the first-ever such court with permanent jurisdiction to prosecute the perpetrators of the most serious of international crimes.

Since its inception, the ICC has presided over 28 cases and convicted eight individuals, and currently has ten ongoing preliminary examinations that may result in full investigations.

Despite this crucial human achievement in which Canada played an essential role, there is cause for outrage at the current state of human rights in the world today. Human rights abuses can degrade into mass atrocities when there is impunity, a lack of the rule of law, and a lack of respect for the basic principle espoused in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: that all human beings are endowed with inalienable rights that must be protected at all times.

Advocates for international justice continue to face significant setbacks, including in the form of rising authoritarianism and impunity that fuel the commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

Earlier this year, I was proud to present a motion – which the House of Commons passed unanimously – calling on the government to support the referral of the situation in Myanmar to the ICC. The government must more proactively and vocally support the work of the ICC, rather than selectively support cases that may be more convenient, and increase funding to the ICC, which has itself said budgetary constraints have impeded its ability function effectively.

We cannot have long-term peace without justice. The wheels of international justice may be slow, but we must do everything in our power to ensure they continue to turn against all odds.”