ICC President meets with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican

Press Release: 18.09.2017

The President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, was received by His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday 15 September 2017. Board member of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV), Felipe Michelini, joined the delegation on the visit to the Vatican.

President Fernández briefed His Holiness on the Court’s achievements and challenges in fighting impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. She underlined that that the Court´s mandate is not only intended to bring perpetrators of these crimes before justice but also seeks to ensure a voice to victims in the proceedings as well as an opportunity for them to seek reparation for the harm suffered.

President Fernández thanked Pope Francis for his leadership to support peace, development and the protection of those most vulnerable, goals to which the Court also sought to contribute through its justice efforts. She explained that the Court has come far during 15 years of operations, with investigations in nine countries and several cases finished or on trial for crimes such as the recruitment of child soldiers, sexual violence in conflict, attacks against the civilian population and the destruction of cultural and religious property. She also referred to the thousands of victims participating in proceedings or seeking reparation, and hundreds of thousands of people having benefitted from psychological and medical rehabilitation and socio-economic projects developed by the TFV in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

At the same time President Fernández referred to the current challenges to global values and stressed that enhancing the universality of the Rome Statute – the founding treaty of the Court – was essential to consolidate the Court and strengthen its capacity to address all crimes and protect all victims in an equal manner. She recognised the contributions of the Holy See to the creation of the Court as well as the support of the Catholic Church for its activities as well as those of TFV, and encouraged the Holy See to consider becoming a party to the Rome Statute in order to assist in fostering the universality of the system.

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