The Hague, 23 May 2016
The first annual EU Day Against Impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes took place today in The Hague, under the Netherlands EU Presidency. The event was hosted by Eurojust, and organised in cooperation with the European Commission and the Network for investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Commenting on the day, the Netherlands Minister of Security and Justice stated that ‘the EU is no safe haven for perpetrators of atrocious crimes’.
The objective of this initiative is to raise awareness of the most heinous crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The EU Day Against Impunity is also intended to promote national investigations and prosecutions, to
• recognise the common efforts of the EU Member States and the European Union in enforcing international criminal law,
• address the position and participation of victims in criminal proceedings for these crimes,
• reinvigorate a Europe-wide commitment to the continuing fight against impunity for these crimes.
The Netherlands Minister of Security and Justice, H.E. Mr Ard van der Steur, stated:
It is primarily the responsibility of states to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of core international crimes. International criminal courts and tribunals are often set up as courts of last resort, and are not able to prosecute ALL violations of international criminal law.
The Minister further underlined that ‘the EU does not want to be a safe haven for perpetrators of atrocious crimes.’
The Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Ms Věra Jourová, stated:
The European Commission has made support to victims of crime a priority. Victims in criminal proceedings conducted in the European Union enjoy a wide range of rights under European law, regardless of their nationality or place of residence. Together with the Member States, the European Union has been striving for consistency between the European Union’s internal and external policies in relation to the fight against serious international crimes. Close and swift cooperation between national judicial and law enforcement authorities matter greatly. At the EU level, Eurojust and Europol play a crucial role in this respect.
Eurojust’s President, Ms Michèle Coninsx, stated:
Experience shows that the investigation and prosecution of international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, require cooperation between states. A single state is not able to efficiently and successfully prosecute perpetrators of these heinous crimes. A common EU justice response is vital to ensure that the European Union is no safe haven for criminals. The need for intensified cooperation with third States and partners becomes clear when fighting impunity.
The 1 607 closed and 1 339 ongoing core international crime cases in the Member States demonstrate that the fight against impunity is a reality and current challenge faced by national authorities.
For interviews and further information, please contact:
Ulf Bergström, Head of Communications and External Relations
Tel: +31 70 412 5508
Mobile: +31 646 764 209
Matevž Pezdirc, Head of Genocide Network Secretariat
Tel: +31 70 412 5514
Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice
Karen Temmink, Spokesperson
Tel: +31 625 657 676
Melanie Voin, Press Contact for Commissioner Jourová
Tel: +32 (0)2 29 58659
Mobile: +32 (0)460 758 659
EU Day Against Impunity infographic