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NGOs push for ratification of International Criminal Court

Human rights NGOs in the Republic of Congo (RoC) are leading a campaign to urge the Brazzaville government to ratify the International Criminal Court (ICC), which formally came into existence on 1 July 2002 after having been ratified by 60 countries. Although the RoC signed the Rome Statute of the ICC on 17 July 1998, it has yet to ratify it. "Four years have passed since the signing in Rome. It leads one to think that the government is not interested in having the nation join the ICC," said Alide Bouangui, a legal officer at the Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme. The group has focused on bringing journalists and NGO leaders together in an effort to lead a well-coordinated advocacy campaign in favour of the ICC. Thomas Djolani, president of the Convention Nationale des Droits de l'Homme, regretted that in the past, human rights NGOs were "timid" in their relations with government authorities. He said the time was ripe to redouble efforts aimed at ratification of the ICC, as the newly-installed government has pledged to tackle "the reign of impunity". "The Congolese authorities must ratify [the ICC], because it would be unthinkable that those who have committed such atrocious criminal acts in recent times would never be punished," added Chanel Loubaky-Moundele, secretary for legal questions of the Association pour les Droits de l'Homme et l'Univers Carceral. [For more information on the ICC, go to http://www.un.org/law/icc/]

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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