Statement Welcoming Government's Policy towards Accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Requesting Active Contribution to ICC Activities
On February 27, 2007, the Japanese Cabinet decided to accede to the Rome Statute of the ICC (the Rome Statute). The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) welcomes this decision and wishes that the Diet immediately passes a proposal to approve the Rome Statute and related bills during this session and the accession of Japan to the Rome Statute is realized.
The ICC is an independent, permanent court in which the Prosecutor, an independent organ of the ICC, prosecutes persons accused of committing acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and in which independent judges give decisions in accordance with criminal procedures established internationally. The Japanese government supported the adoption of the Rome Statute at the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court held in Rome in 1998, however, it has not yet signed, ratified, or acceded to the Rome Statute.
The JFBA adopted the Resolution Calling for Japan's Proactive Involvement in the ICC on June 21, 2002, urging the Japanese government to immediately accede to the Rome Statute and actively participate in the cooperation of the international community in creating the international criminal justice system including the establishment of the ICC. This was because it is expected that the ICC can, as a new international system, deal effectively with recurring serious human rights violations in armed conflicts and ethnic conflicts, as well as because serious crimes of international concern such as genocide should be strictly brought before an international tribunal under the rule of law.
The JFBA is engaging in the activities of the International Criminal Bar (ICB) as its main member. The ICB was established in 2002 in order to internationally ensure the establishment of status of and the independence of activities of counsels for defendants and victims before the ICC.
When Japan accedes to the Rome Statute, Japan will become the largest financial contributor to the ICC. Japan should consider this as an opportunity to contribute to overall matters of the ICC. As trials progress and tasks expand in the ICC, more and more personnel, including legal practitioners, are wanted. Japan should create an environment to enable Japanese legal practitioners and other specialists to participate in the ICC.
Measures undertaken by the ICC to protect human rights of suspects and defendants, such as attendance of the defense counsel at the questioning and visual/audio recordings of interrogations, are a high standard internationally. In order to cooperate on the ICC, Japan should realize and develop the domestic system by implementing international standards of the criminal justice system.
From the standpoint of the legal profession, the JFBA will provide all possible cooperation in active contribution to be offered by Japan after the accession to the Rome Statute.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
February 27, 2007