We welcome the support that European leaders have expressed for the ICC and its unique mandate of advancing justice following war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Consistent support for the ICC and promotion of its universal reach highlight Europe’s serious commitment to deter such violations and to promote a rules-based international order, peace and security.

It is clear that Europe has long benefited from multilateralism rooted in international law and the institutions that uphold it. Now, in a time of increasing challenges to the multilateral order and an independent judiciary in many corners of the world and within Europe itself, preserving the ICC’s legitimacy and mandate becomes an imperative.

We regret to see increasing attacks on the ICC, its staff and cooperating civil society groups. We witnessed with serious concern the executive order issued in the United States by the former President Donald Trump and the sanctions designated against the Court’s staff and their family members. Deeply worrying is now  the unwarranted public criticism of the Court regarding its investigation of alleged crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism.

It is well established and recognized that accountability for serious rights violations by all sides to a conflict is essential for achieving a sustainable and lasting peace. This is the case in Israel-Palestine, just as in Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Mali, Bangladesh/Myanmar, Colombia, and Ukraine. Where there is no accountability for grave human rights violations, it is the victims seeking justice and people longing for lasting peace that are paying the price.

Attempts to discredit the Court and obstruct its work cannot be tolerated if we are serious about promoting and upholding justice globally.We understand fears of politically motivated complaints and investigations. Yet we strongly believe that the Rome Statute guarantees the highest criteria of justice and provides a crucial avenue to address impunity for the world’s most serious crimes. Failure to act would have grave consequences.

In this context, we stress the importance of all European governments firmly supporting the independence of the ICC and shielding the institution and its staff from any external pressures or threats. That includes refraining from public criticism of the ICC’s decisions, which could contribute to undermining the independence of the Court and public trust in its authority.

We welcome the Biden administration’s decision to rescind the executive order and lift the sanctions against the ICC. This will set grounds for opportunities to work on strengthening international justice institutions and norms together with our key transatlantic ally.

The ICC is a vital part of the rules-based international order. Now more than ever, Europe must lead by example in protecting the Court’s independence.

Douglas Alexander, Former Minister of International Development, United Kingdom

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, France

Hans Blix, Former Foreign Minister, Former Director General of the IAEA, Sweden

Emma Bonino, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Former Minister for European Affairs, and Former European Commissioner; Head of the EU Delegation to the Rome Diplomatic Conference that established the ICC, Founder of No Peace Without Justice, Italy

Ben Bradshaw, Former Minister of State for the Middle East, United Kingdom

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister, Norway

John Bruton, Former Prime Minister, Ireland

Micheline Calmy-Rey, Former Foreign Minister and President, Switzerland

Ingvar Carlsson, Former Prime Minister, Sweden

Gunilla Carlsson, Former Minister for International Development Cooperation, Sweden

Lord Menzies Campbell, Former Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, United Kingdom

Willy Claes, Former Foreign Minister and NATO Secretary General, Belgium

Joe Costello, FormerMinister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland

Massimo d’Alema, Former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, Italy

Teresa Patrício de Gouveia, Former Foreign Minister, Portugal

Karel de Gucht, Former Foreign Minister and European Commissioner, Belgium

Ruth Dreifuss, former President, Switzerland

Alan Duncan, Former Minister of State for Europe and the Americas and Minister of State for International Development, United Kingdom

Espen Barth Eide, Former Foreign Minister, Norway

Jan Eliasson, Former Foreign Minister and UN General Assembly President, Sweden

Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Former Foreign Minister and President of the European Liberals, Denmark 

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Former Foreign Minister and European Commissioner for External Relations, Austria

Charles Flanagan, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ireland

Sigmar Gabriel, Former Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor, Germany

Bjørn Tore Godal, Former Foreign Minister, Norway

Bertel Haarder, President of the Nordic Council, former Minister for European Affairs and Minister of the Interior, Denmark

Peter Hain, Former Minister for the Middle East, United Kingdom

Lena Hjelm-Wallén, Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden

Lionel Jospin, Former Prime Minister, France

Tom Kitt, Former Minister of State for Overseas Development and Human Rights, Ireland 

Lord Neil Kinnock, Former European Commissioner, Former Leader of the the Labour Party, United Kingdom

Bert Koenders, Former Foreign Minister, the Netherlands

Yves Leterme, Former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, Belgium

Martin Liedegaard, Former Foreign Minister, Denmark

Mogens Lykketoft, Former Foreign Minister and UN General Assembly President, Denmark

Senator Michael McDowell, Former Minister of Justice and Former Attorney General, Ireland

Per Stig Møller, Former Foreign Minister, Denmark

Holger K. Nielsen, Former Foreign Minister, Denmark

Baroness Lindsay Northover, Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom

Andrzej Olechowski, Former Foreign Minister, Poland

Marc Otte, Former EU Special Representative to the Middle East Peace Process, Belgium

Ana Palacio, Former Foreign Minister, Spain

Chris Patten, Former Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for External Relations, United Kingdom

Jacques Poos, Former Foreign Minister, Luxembourg

Mary Robinson, Former President and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ireland

Soraya Rodriguez, FormerSecretary of State for International Cooperation, Spain

Robert Serry, Former UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, the Netherlands

Javier Solana, Former Foreign Minister, NATO Secretary General and EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Spain

Erkki Tuomioja, Former Foreign Minister, Finland

Ivo Vajgl, Former Foreign Minister, Slovenia

Jozias van Aartsen, Former Foreign Minister, the Netherlands

Hubert Védrine, Former Foreign Minister, France

Joris Voorhoeve, Former leader of the Liberal Party VVD and Former Minister of

Defence, the Netherlands

Margot Wallström, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sweden

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Former Cabinet Minister and Foreign Office Minister for the United Nations, Human Rights and the ICC, United Kingdom