Justice and reconciliation at the International Criminal Court

The establishment of the International Criminal Court in 2002 was a vital step forward in international law. The Court provides the international community with an instrument to try individuals within its jurisdiction for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Because of victims' participation in the trials, ICC procedures contribute to reconciliation within and among nations and communities, and to preventing impunity.

Twice-yearly meetings with civil society representatives facilitate interaction between the Court and civil society at large. As a fellowship of churches with a global perspective, the WCC brings church representatives to these meetings. The ecumenical perspective focuses on justice, victims' participation and reconciliation, including reparations.

Two church leaders from countries where cases are being investigated and brought to the Court will go once a year to The Hague and possibly to Geneva to present their perspectives, concerns and suggestions.

The work is done in close collaboration with the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation in The Hague, and the Faith and Ethics Network for the International Criminal Court of which the WCC is a member.

Churches have welcomed the establishment of the ICC, and some have urged their governments to sign and ratify the Rome Statute. A  2005 WCC statement  reiterated its appreciation for the creation of the ICC as a permanent instrument to provide accountability for specified crimes in the process of overcoming impunity and pursuing justice.

Related documents

International Criminal Court

The 2005 meeting of the WCC central committee adopted the following statement on the International Criminal Court.

Related publications