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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 13) – Solomon Islands is among 10 Pacific island nations which have been urged to ratify or accede to the Roman Statute - the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp. (SIBC) reports that the Coalition for the International Criminal Court has written to the ten Pacific nation's foreign ministers.

The letter says, the time has now arrived for Pacific states to join the global struggle against impunity.

The coalition is an international network of more than 2,500 non-governmental organisations advocating for a fair, effective and independent court.

105 countries have joined the International Criminal Court, which is the first permanent international court, capable of trying individuals accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

[PIR editor’s note: Some countries, including China, India and the United States, have declined to join the court, which was established in 2002 and is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands.  Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Samoa are parties to the Rome Statute, creating the International Criminal Court (ICC). Even though other Pacific island nations are not party to the Rome Statute, the United States has entered into Article 98 bilateral immunity agreements with 10 Pacific island nations, meaning the countries agree not to send U.S. citizens to proceedings before the ICC, and vice versa.  Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu have signed and ratified bilateral agreements with the U.S.]

SIBC says Solomon Islands has signed the statute, but is yet to ratify it.

The letter says the accession of Pacific states to the International Criminal Court would ensure greater participation by a region with much at stake, when it comes to preventing and addressing grave crimes against large numbers of innocent people.

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