Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

16 Nov, 2011

“Average Cost of Civil War Equals 30+ Years of GDP Growth”

International Criminal Court

On 14 November 2011, the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Sang-Hyun Song, gave the keynote speech at the opening of the 2011 Law, Justice and Development Week, organized by the World Bank Group in Washington D.C.. Maintaining that the emerging system of international criminal justice is an essential building block for the stability, security and prosperity of the world, he called for the creation of more synergies between the spheres of international justice and development.

President Song praised the 2011 World Development Report for emphasizing the devastating effect of conflicts and large-scale violence on development, and cited the Report’s finding that the average cost of civil war is equivalent to more than 30 years of GDP growth for a medium-size developing economy.

“Any efforts to help a society regain health, wealth and capacity to profit from its own resources must include accountability for past atrocities and strengthening of the rule of law”, the ICC President stated. “Where impunity is allowed to reign, it leaves a desire for vengeance among populations who have been victims of massive crimes, and provides fertile ground for the recurrence of conflicts”.

In his speech, President Song highlighted the innovative features of the Rome Statute of the ICC to empower victims through its provisions for victim participation and reparation, and the creation of a Trust Fund for Victims. “In responding to the particular needs of victimized individuals and communities in their quest for dignity, hope and sustainable livelihoods, the Trust Fund for Victims complements other humanitarian or developmental initiatives”, he stated. “As such, the Trust Fund is becoming an increasingly visible presence on the nexus between justice and development”.

Underlining the synergies between general justice reforms and more specific capacity building efforts for addressing atrocity crimes, President Song appealed to development agencies to support the empowerment of national jurisdictions to prosecute and prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

“Lasting peace and prosperity in post-conflict societies can only be achieved if development challenges and justice enforcement are addressed in a coordinated manner and I salute the World Development Report for pointing us in that direction”, the ICC President stated.

Full text of keynote address by President Song at Law, Justice and Development Week 2011, World Bank