Romania launched early this year the idea of an International Criminal Court against Terrorism amid the stepped up phenomenon; in Bucharest’s view, such a structure also has the role to take the place of the international authorities, where applicable, in inquiring into and judging such acts, if the states concerned lack the capacity or will to do it or in order to persuade them to make such a move, reads an analysis published by Agerpres.
Romania considers that such a court would amount to admitting the transnational nature of terrorism and its serious effects on the international community.
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s evaluation, such an institution would also strengthen the international community’s efforts to fight against terrorism and would offer credibility and legitimacy given the independence and neutrality that an international tribunal has.
The initiative was launched by Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu (photo) at the EU Foreign Affairs Council of February 9, 2015.
In Romania’s outlook, an international criminal court for the crime of terrorism should judge and punish serious terrorist acts, which pose a threat to peace and security. The Romanian top diplomat’s proposal starts from the idea that the international community’s reaction to acts such as those mentioned should be firm and unequivocal, and based on the international law.
In an address delivered in Strasbourg on May 27, 2015, Aurescu ascertained the increased presence of the terrorist phenomenon in everyday life and, voicing firm conviction that the rule of law state and the international justice represent universal values, was underscoring that terrorism is a global challenge, that claims global action with instruments such as law and justice.
From a technical viewpoint, according to the data made available by the Foreign Ministry to Agerpres, the ideal mechanism for the creation of this institution would be a treaty negotiated at an international conference sponsored by the United Nations General Assembly. Nevertheless, the establishment of the court by such a mechanism would take years due to the blockages likely to emerge by defining the term of “terrorism”, for example. Romania, therefore, considers as more viable the option of setting up the court by means of a resolution of the Security Council modelled on the tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.
The idea of a criminal court against terrorism is older, the same as Romania’s preoccupations in this respect. They go back to the interwar years.
In 1926, Romania promoted an initiative at the Society of Nations regarding the drafting of a convention for the universal incrimination of terrorism, but it was not adopted. In 1937 there were, however, adopted two conventions on sanctioning terrorism, namely the setting up of an international criminal court in this respect, starting from a project drawn up by Romanian jurist and diplomat Vespasian Pella. The two instruments, although signed by 24 states, were never enforced, given the political context ahead of World War Two.
The Romanian moves made over the last period enjoyed, however, the interest of several states in Europe and in the Middle East too. In this April-May Bucharest hosted two rounds of consultations on this matter, at expert level, with specialists from Spain and the Netherlands. The talks were aimed at turning the concept concrete, drawing up the Court statutes and other aspects relating the promotion of the initiative.
“What we wish is to use the international law instruments in an intelligent manner in order to discourage and combat the terrorist acts. In the development of this concept of the International Terrorism Court we are together with Spain, which has backed this idea from the very beginning. On a technical level, we cooperate with the Netherlands, which has been backing us by its technical-judicial contribution to its development. Now we actively promote the initiative among the U.N. member states, in the Security Council and among the states in the southern neighbourhood”, Aurescu told Agerpres.
The initiative was hailed by Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders. In an interview to Radio Romania Actualitati (News) public station on this March 28, he said that ideas such as the organisation of an international criminal court for terrorism are “extremely important in the anti-terrorist fight”.
Romanian Foreign Minister Aurescu discussed this idea of Romania with his Tunisian and Jordanian counterparts, as well as with other foreign ministers. On the occasion of the EU ministerial conference in Barcelona with the partner states in the Southern Neighbourhood, on April 13, Aurescu also made a presentation of the concept and the proposal was, according to the Foreign Ministry, welcomed with interest by the participants representing various geographical areas, including the Middle East.