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Vatican welcomes International Criminal Court

As the new international tribunal formally opened, Archbishop Renato Martino-- the permanent observer for the Holy See at the United Nations-- issued a statement expressing the Vatican's satisfaction with the development.

The archbishop quoted from a statement released by Pope John Paul II in July 1998, after the adoption of an international pact to set up the new court.

In that 1998 statement, the Pope said that the international court "could contribute to ensure the effective protection of human rights on the worldwide scale." The Pope's statement included a caution that the new court should be firmly based on the rule of international law. He added that "crimes against humanity should not be considered as the internal affair of one nation."

The international criminal court is authorised to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. To date, 66 countries have accepted the authority of the court. However, several important nations - including China, India, Russia, and the United States - have indicated that they will not subject themselves to the court's decisions.

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court


4 Jul 2002