"â€¦the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of the most serious crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, is an obstacle to reconciliation, fostering revisionism and depriving future generations of irrefutable evidence of such crimes"
Recommendation 1408 (1999) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Since the adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998 and the subsequent impetus given by Governments to its signature and ratification, states are now faced with the often difficult task of bringing their internal legal order in line with the Statute.
The importance of this implementation exercise lies, first and foremost, in the obligations which ensue from the ratification of the Statute. Procedures must be available to enable national authorities to co-operate with the ICC. Secondly, since the ICC's jurisdiction is complementary and responsibility to prosecute therefore lies primarily with States, adequate substantive and procedural legislation must be in place at national level if a State is to be in a position to try persons in its own courts for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Since 2000, the Council of Europe has organised four consultation meetings open to member and observer states, to foster exchanges of views on the legal problems encountered in the implementation process and on models developed in certain countries to overcome these problems. Participants at these meetings adopted conclusions which they transmitted to their governments.