This June, global civil society has called on Paraguay to continue its progress on the implementation of the Rome Statute, setting an important example and precedent for the rest of Latin America. Add your signature to our petition, requesting the President of Congress to continue his important support to the debate on Draft Law S-13991 “Draft Law on Implementation of the Rome Statute that creates the International Criminal Court.”
The Rome Statute implementation bill is the result of a thorough process of several years in which government authorities, civil society and other actors have worked together to draft a legislative proposal incorporating Rome Statute crimes within Paraguay’s domestic legal system, as well as other principles of international criminal law and provisions for cooperation with the ICC.
By completing the implementation process, Paraguay would reaffirm the commitment it made to international justice when it ratified the Statute in 2001.
This month, Paraguay is the focus of our Campaign for Global Justice. The long-running campaign calls on countries around the world to join the ICC and adopt national laws to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
“Following ratification of the Rome Statute in 2001, Paraguay has treaded slowly in the implementation of this valuable instrument”, stated Rosalía Vega, Executive Director of Amnesty International in Paraguay. “Almost 15 years have passed since that landmark moment, and it is time for Paraguay to seal its firm commitment to fight the worst crimes against human rights and international law, by enacting domestic legislation that can ensure its effective implementation,” noted Vega.
Since its submission to Congress by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January 2013, Draft Law S-13991 has been received favorably by the Committee on Human Rights, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Affairs, and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, National Defense and Public Force.
Currently, the bill is pending approval by the Committee on Legislation, Codification, Justice and Labor, after which it will move to a plenary debate in Senate – a necessary step prior to the bill’s submission to the Chamber of Deputies for further analysis and debate.
This week we wrote to the President of the Senate of Paraguay, highlighting his valuable support to the implementation process and requesting that he use his good offices to encourage a speedy but thorough discussion of the bill at the remaining instances of the Senate, laying the grounds for a prompt submission to the Chamber of Deputies.
“By ratifying the Rome Statute, Paraguay reaffirmed its strong commitment to the International Criminal Court and international justice. The implementation of the Rome Statute within Paraguayan domestic legislation will seal that commitment, and ensure that Paraguayan courts can exercise primary jurisdiction over the crimes contained in the Statute”, said Michelle Reyes Milk, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court’s Regional Coordinator for the Americas. “Thus, the Paraguayan state will be taking a further step in the fight against impunity, and provide a key example for other states in the region that are still embarking on the process of fully implementing the Statute.”