As international prosecutors, we have been entrusted with the responsibility of bringing to justice individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
We represent all the regions of the world. Our institutions were variously founded by treaty, by the United Nations Security Council, or by agreement between the United Nations and national governments.
Having reviewed the challenges of international criminal justice, we have concluded that the ideal behind the establishment of each of our institutions is the same: to end impunity for the most serious crimes that plague humankind, and to contribute to peace and the prevention of future crimes.
These tribunals have made great progress. Heads of state or government have been brought to justice. Other major perpetrators have been indicted, arrested and tried; many have been convicted; trials are ongoing. These institutions have recognized that genocide can be committed through acts of sexual violence; they have found that the use of child soldiers is a crime against humanity, they have brought the weight of law to bear on the evils of ethnic cleansing. But because many people continue to suffer from these crimes throughout the world, we affirm that only a sustained commitment to accountability will deter these atrocities.
The ultimate success of these tribunals depends on the continued political support of the international community. Resources, cooperation, and assistance are essential to enforce the principle of accountability and the rule of law.
The resolve of the international community will also be measured by its willingness to deliver indictees for trial, even if politically difficult. International criminal justice must apply to indicted fugitives such as Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, Ante Gotovina, Félicien Kabuga, and Charles Taylor. To permit individuals accused of the gravest of crimes to evade justice would reinforce the culture of impunity that fuels conflict and atrocities.
National legal systems have a vital role in the prosecution of these grave crimes. International institutions need step in only when national systems lack the strength or impartiality to hold the most serious offenders to account. Combined national and international efforts will be a guarantee of impartial justice.
We reaffirm our commitment to the task that has been entrusted to us. We call upon all national and international authorities to strengthen their dedication to justice.
We believe that the people of the world are entitled to a system that will deter grave international crimes and hold to account those who bear the greatest responsibility. Only when a culture of accountability has replaced the culture of impunity can the diverse people of the world live and prosper together in peace.
Signed on this 27th day of November 2004.
/s/ Luis Moreno Ocampo
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
/s/ Carla Del Ponte
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
/s/ Hassan Bubacar Jallow
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
/s/ David Crane
Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone