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The European Union (EU) has been a leading force in the establishment and the strengthening of international justice mechanisms such as the ICC. Since 1995, the fight against impunity for serious international crimes has represented a top priority for the EU. The EU has offered valuable political and technical support to states worldwide, including those that are not yet party to the Rome Statute. Another example of EU support is the many statements delivered by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy as well as the inclusion of ICC-related language in agreements with third countries. Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR; previously “Initiative”), the EU has contributed significantly to the justice initiatives of non-governmental organizations, as well as of the ICC and the ad hoc Tribunals.

On 11 June 2001, the European Union adopted a Common Position on the ICC (2001/443/CFSP), which was reviewed and reinforced on 20 June 2002 (Common Position 2002/474/CFSP) and again on 16 June 2003 (Common Position 2003/444/CFSP), and endowed with an Action Plan in February 2004. The Action Plan provided concrete measures to achieve the objective of universal ratification to and implementation of the Rome Statute and the independence and effective functioning of the ICC.

On 30 September 2002, the Council of the European Union adopted the Conclusions and Guiding Principles concerning arrangements or agreements between a State Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC and the United States of America, regarding the conditions to surrender persons to the Court, which have been a critical tool for preserving the integrity of the Rome Statute from any attempt to undermine its letter and spirit, specifically as relates to bilateral immunity agreements (BIA).

In an effort to increase internal cooperation and coherence in the prevention of crimes falling under ICC jurisdiction, the EU has also adopted specific instruments under its Justice and Home Affairs (JHA, now Justice, Freedom and Security) policy, whereby Member States are called on, by different means, to assist one another in the investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes: Council Decision (2002/494/JHA) of 13 June 2002 set up a “European network of contact points with respect to persons responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,” and Council Decision (2003/335/JHA) of 8 May 2003 treated the issues of investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Both decisions are up for review by June 2012 as per the Commission’s Action Plan on the implementation of the Stockholm Programme. As of 1 July 2011, the Network has a permanent Secretariat based within Eurojust in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Secretariat is responsible for setting up, maintaining, and improving the Network’s information and communication channels and for supporting the EU Presidency in the organization of Network meetings.

On 6 December 2005, the EU concluded an Agreement with the International Criminal Court on cooperation and assistance.

On 15 April 2008, the Council of the European Union agreed on security arrangements for the protection of classified information exchanged between the EU and the ICC.

Having committed at the Kampala Review Conference in 2010 to update its ICC-related instruments, in 2011, the EU made great strides in fulfilling this pledge. In March 2011, the Council of the EU adopted the ‘Decision on the International Criminal Court’, replacing the Common Position which had guided EU and its Member States’ activities on the ICC over the past decade. The decision aims to advance universal support for the Rome Statute, preserve the independence and effective functioning of the ICC, and support cooperation and complementarity. Linked to the Decision, the EU’s revised Action Plan was finalized in July 2011. The plan includes several new elements, including concrete measures to be taken on the issues of cooperation with the Court and on complementarity, such as avoiding non-essential contact with individuals subject to ICC arrest warrant, developing a complementarity toolkit, and supporting training for judges and prosecutors.

The European Parliament (EP) has been one of the earliest, most consistent and vocal supporters of the ICC. On 17 November 2011, following the drafting of an own-initiative report on the same subject, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on ‘EU support for the International Criminal Court (ICC): Facing challenges and overcoming difficulties,’ committing the Parliament to play an active role in promoting the fight against impunity and the ICC in all EU policies. The EP is also home to an informal group of the Friends of the ICC – Action Group of Parliamentarians, which engages to undertake a proactive role in favor of the ICC. The Friends of the ICC group is not an inter-group and operates along very flexible modalities.

The CICC Europe Office in Brussels works closely with the Council of the EU, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, and the European Parliament, as well as with EU Member States to strengthen EU support for the ICC.
Conference Reports and Declarations
Author Date and Title
EU
24 Apr 2008
International seminar on the International Criminal Court
Cumbre America Latina y Caribe- Uniao Europea
29 May 2004
DECLARAÇÃO DE GUADALAJARA
Enacted Legislation
Author Date and Title
European Parliament
17 Nov 2011
European Parliament resolution of 17 November 2011 on EU support for the ICC: facing challenges and overcoming difficulties (2011/2109(INI))
European Parliament
20 Oct 2011
Report on EU support for the ICC: facing challenges and overcoming difficulties (2011/2109(INI))
EU
12 July 2011
Action Plan to follow-up on the Decision on the International Criminal Court
EU
21 Mar 2011
Council Decision 2011/168/CFSP of 21 March 2011 on the International Criminal Court and repealing Common Position 2003/444/CFSP
EU
15 Apr 2008
Security arrangements for the protection of classified information exchanged between the EU and the ICC
EU
10 Apr 2006
EU-ICC Cooperation and Assistance Agreement (EU Press Release)
EU
10 Apr 2006
EU-ICC Cooperation and Assistance Agreement
Government and Inter-governmental Documents
Author Date and Title
EU
13 Sept 2013
European Parliament resolution on the situation in Syria (2013/2819(RSP))
Council of the European Union
18 July 2013
Declaration by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute of the ICC
Barbara Lochbihler
17 July 2013
European Parliament delegation visit to the African Union and Ethiopia, Addis Ababa
European Union
19 June 2013
Déclaration de Catherine Ashton, Haute Représentante de l'UE, sur la signature d'un accord de paix préliminaire au Mali
European Union
19 June 2013
Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the signing of a preliminary peace agreement in Mali
EU
02 May 2013
Statement by the Spokesperson of High Representative Catherine Ashton following the attempted assassination of Syrian Prime Minister Wael Al-Halki
EU
25 Mar 2013
Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the situation in the Central African Republic
NGO Letters, Papers, Reports, and Statements
Author Date and Title
FIDH
02 Apr 2014
Joint Open Letter on the occasion of the EU-Africa Summit
Human Rights Watch
31 Mar 2014
Memorandum on Human Rights Priorities for the European Union-Africa Summit
Amnesty International
08 Oct 2013
EEAS MUST MAINTAIN EU COMMITMENTS ON LGBTI RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFRICA
Human Rights Watch
23 Sept 2013
Letter to EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs regarding the EU Complementarity Toolkit
CICC
Sept 2013
CICC Europe Strategy Meeting 2013 Recommendations
CICC
Sept 2013
CICC Europe Strategy Meeting Report
IBA
05 Apr 2013
IBA meets with members of EU Parliament at Coalition for the ICC
NGO Media Statements
Author Date and Title
FIDH
18 Oct 2013
Annulment of General Ríos Montt’s conviction: FIDH asks EU member states not to ratify the EU-Central America Association Agreement
NPWJ
02 Oct 2013
NPWJ says EU should push Kenya to cooperate with ICC
NPWJ
19 Apr 2012
European Parliament: Human Rights Report a strong stance for the promotion of human rights, democracy and rule of law
FIDH
05 Dec 2011
Yemen : The European Union should uphold accountability for ongoing human rights violations committed against civilians
CICC
25 Nov 2011
Coalition Welcomes European Parliament Resolution on EU Support for the ICC
CICC
21 Mar 2011
Coalition Welcomes New EU Decision on the ICC
HRW
21 Mar 2011
EU: Decision on ICC Aids Court