Time for Central Asian states to join the ICC

On 22 and 23 May, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court organized a seminar in Almaty, Kazakhstan with participants from civil society in all five Central Asian republics.

Leading NGOs from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan discussed perspectives for ratification of the Rome Statute in four of the Central Asian republics, drawing on experiences from earlier campaigns for ratification, as well as the experience of Tajikistan – the only country in the region to have ratified, and having fully recognized recognized the global importance of the International Criminal Court. Both Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have signed the Rome Statute, but are yet to ratify the treaty.

Participants discussed the universality of the Rome Statute and studied the structure and history of the ICC, sharing their views on the ways in which each republic can move forward and become fully integrated in the international justice system.

Well-known Kazakhstani human rights defender Evgeniy Zhovtis contributed a wider perspective on the movement for ratification in the region, pointing to some of the challenges faced by local organizations and the need for the international community to support local initiatives.

Several organizations from across the region will work together to ensure that the Central Asian republics take the necessary steps to join the ICC, along with the 121 other countries of the world already to have done so.

At the end of the seminar, the participants made the following statement, signing up to actively promoting ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute of the ICC Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Read the statement in English here.

Read the statement in Russian here.