On 9-10 June 2016, Judge Silvia Fernández, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is visiting the Republic of Finland to meet with high level officials and highlight the importance of mutual cooperation in the fight against impunity for mass crimes.
On 9 June 2016, ICC President Fernández met with the President of the Republic of Finland, H.E. Sauli Niinistö, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, H.E. Timo Soini, and members of the network specialising in human rights in foreign policy.
During her visit, Judge Fernández delivered a keynote speech at a seminar on “The International Criminal Court – the Past, the Present and the Future”, organised by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The seminar was also addressed by Foreign Minister Soini, former ICC judge Erkki Kourula, Minister Elisabeth Rehn, former Chair of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims, and Ambassador Marja Lehto, Senior Expert at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event was attended by senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, judges, civil society and media.
“Accountability is essential for addressing past crimes but also an essential element of prevention. We have to demonstrate that there are consequences for those who commit genocide, crimes against humanity. It is our duty to do our utmost to provide justice to victims of such acts”, said President Fernández at the seminar. The ICC President also thanked Finland for its support to the Court and added that ”this country has gone beyond its strict duties under the treaty in offering voluntary cooperation to the Court and making significant donations to the Trust Fund for Victims”.
In his concluding remarks at the seminar, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, H.E. Timo Soini, said: “The goal of ending impunity for the most serious international crimes is high on the agenda of the Finnish Foreign Policy […] Without the feeling that justice is being done, peace and stability are hard to sustain. An effective system of international and national justice can also have a preventive function. It stands as a reminder to all those contemplating to commit such crimes that their actions will not be tolerated”.
On 10 June 2016, the ICC President is scheduled to meet with the Minister of Justice and Employment of Finland, H.E. Jari Lindström, as well as representatives of the judicial system.
The President’s visit to Finland highlights Finland’s support to the Court and the joint efforts deployed in the fight against the impunity of the perpetrators of the most serious crimes that affect the international community as a whole. Finland signed the Rome Statute on 7 October 1998 and ratified it on 29 December 2000. On 30 December 2015, Finland ratified the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression and article 8. It has also ratified the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities and passed cooperation legislation with the Court. Furthermore, Finland is one of only eight States Parties to have concluded a framework agreement with the Court on the enforcement of sentences.
The ICC investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Court is participating in a global fight to end impunity, and through international criminal justice, the Court aims to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes and to help prevent these crimes from happening again.