Turkey should sign Rome statute: ICC
International Criminal Court (ICC) head Sang Hyun-Song has repeated the organization's call for Turkey to join the Rome Statute, saying this would give the opportunity to voice the needs of Middle East and the Islamic world — the most underrepresented groups in ICC. Speaking at an event at Istanbul's Bilgi University on May 22, Sang emphasized that joining the Rome Statute, an international treaty defining the jurisdiction of the court, would also allow Turkey to offer changes to the Statute. "The region in which we stand now, the broader Middle East and Islamic world, is one of the most underrepresented parts of the world in the Rome Statute. [For Turkey] to join would show that international justice is truly international, with support from every region of the world," he said. While highlighting the decision to join in as "a sovereign decision" for each state to make, Sang said Turkey's accession would make tremendous improvements in broadening the jurisdiction of the international court. Turkey's inclusion would further "send a strong sign that it shares the commitment of people across the world to end impunity for the worst international crimes" and "be a powerful statement of solidarity with victims," he said. Song also addressed some of Turkey's concerns over the treaty, stating that if it decided to join the 122 signatories, it would have the opportunity to make proposals for amendments, even those on the subject of terrorism. When asked to evaluate the Turkish judicial system, which has recently faced serious criticism, particularly over the length of trials, Sang dismissed any claim of making judgments. "I am not in a position to make an assessment of the Turkish judicial system. The only message I want to convey would be that it is primarily the responsibility of national judicial systems to make genuine investigations and prosecutions and the ICC can step in only if your national system doesn't work when you can't do the job, or when you don't want to do the job," he said. "Interaction between the ICC and the national judicial system [of signatories] will over the years get mutual benefits through the exchange," Sang added. The Rome Statue is an international treaty that established the ICC, and was adopted in 1998, entering into force in 2002. The treaty currently has 122 signatories.