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Updates on Estonia
31 Dec 2005
On 5 December 2001, the Parliament of Estonia adopted the Rome Statute Ratification Act. Concurrently, amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure were approved in order to implement the Statute and to ensure proper co-operation with the Court when the Rome Statute entered into force. Two Acts (“the Ratification Act” and “the ICC Procedure Act”) contain minimal implementing provisions and were enacted in the end of 2001.

A new Penal Code entered into force in September 2002. It incorporates extensive definitions of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity under the section “Offences against Humanity and International Security”. The Penal Code also provides for the non-applicability of statutory limitation to offences against humanity. For the English version of the penal code of Estonia, visit: www.legislationline.org/data/Documents/Estonia_CC.htm

Previously, the government approved the draft ratification bill on 21 August 2001 and it was submitted to the Legal Committee of the Parliament. The draft was prepared by the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs and includes provisions for implementation of the Rome Statute into national law.

The national laws of Estonia cover most of the crimes in the Rome Statute, as it has implemented the Genocide Convention and Geneva Conventions. Some aspects of the definitions of crimes are even broader than those in the Rome Statute and provide for universal jurisdiction. The Constitution of Estonia allows extradition of its nationals to a foreign state under prescription of an international treaty, unless the Prosecutor's office finds such extradition "legally unjustified." Although the potential need for constitutional amendment was identified with regard to immunities granted to the President, members of Parliament, and other high-ranking officials, this has been resolved; the government was working with the European Union with respect to the immunities issue.