The International Criminal Court marks a decade

The International Criminal Court marks a decade

July 2012 sees the tenth anniversary of the ICC. In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, HiiL director Sam Muller looks back on a decade of justice.

In the summer of 2002, Sam Muller stood on the step of an empty office building on the outskirts of The Hague. In his hand he held the key of the premises where the newly-established International Criminal Court would be. The emptiness reflected the state of the ICC whose task had been set up to prosecute international crimes. There were no judges, court clerks, prosecutors, let alone lawsuits. Muller took some colleagues and moved into the building to ensure that in every case there was somebody to answer the phone.

Nowadays, the ICC runs full speed ahead with cases involving the D.R. Congo, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Uganda, Libya and Sudan. On 1 July 2012, the court marks ten years when sixty countries had ratified the Rome Treaty, which meant that the ICC could start.

It is no coincidence that the Criminal Court was established in The Hague which the Netherlands had offered as a location. The ICC is part of a long tradition that goes back to Hugo Grotius, the seventeenth century lawyer who is regarded as the founder of international law, says Muller, director of The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL). For decades the Netherlands has been the site of an impressive list of international tribunals and courts.

You can read the full interview on the Trouw website (in Dutch only)