Angelina Jolie, Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Benjamin Ferencz were among the honorees for promoting international Justice and human rights on the occasion of the 10th Session of the Assembly of the States Parties of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – the inaugural Justice Gala in New York by the office of the prosecutor of the ICC and the Cinema for Peace Foundation took place on 11 December to recognize the growing global role of the ICC in the struggle for international justice and human rights.
At the Gala event, Justitia Awards were given to Luis Moreno-Ocampo – the first Prosecutor of the ICC – Botswana’s President Ian Khama, Angelina Jolie, Benjamin Ferencz- a Chief Prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremburg – and other individuals and organizations who have played an important role in fulfilling the mission and goals of the International Criminal Court.
“The Justitia Award was established to honour those who promote international justice and assist victims of the gravest crimes to return to dignified lives within their communities,” said Angelina Jolie, recipient of the Justitia Award for Civic Support of the Year. “We are so grateful for all that you do. In this world there is so much injustice and violence that we need you more than ever.”
Presenting the awards were United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanthem Pillay, Holocaust survivor Irving Roth, former child soldier Ishmael Beah, Sudanese model Alek Wek, UN Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs Patricia O’Brien, and Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, a day prior to being appointed the new Chief Prosecutor of the international Criminal Court.
“I am incredibly inspired by the international support and hard work that has enabled the International Criminal Court to emerge as a key global force for justice and human rights in less than 10 years,” said Justitia Honorary Award winner Luis Moreno-Ocampo. “I am proud to have been a part of this prestigious organization and to be amongst such great company in receiving the Justitia Award today.”
The full list of this year’s Justitia Award recipients includes:
· Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the first Prosecutor of the ICC, received a Justitia Honorary Award for his dedication and determination in institutionalizing the Court;
· Christian Wenaweser, the current President of the Assembly of State Parties, received a Justitia Honorary Award for his leadership in the Court;
· Botswana President Ian Khama received the Justitia Statesman of the Year Award for his unwavering support of the ICC and his leadership in Africa;
· Angelina Jolie received the Justitia Award for Civic Support of the Year as a global citizen working for the plight of refugees and victims around the world, and for continuously supporting the Court;
· Benjamin Ferencz received the Justitia Lifetime Achievement Award for his pursuit of the rule of law, including his leadership role in the Nazi-war-crimes tribunal of Nuremberg, and for being the strongest advocate for an International Criminal Court for more than a half a century;
· The Invisible Children organization received the Justitia Award for the Civic Campaign of the Year for their determination in highlighting the abduction and forced enlistment of children as soldiers in Uganda by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
2011 has been a breakthrough year for the ICC; it saw the conclusion of its first case, arrest warrants issued for key actors in Libya following the Arab spring, and in just the last two weeks the former president of the Ivory Coast was brought to The Hague and a further arrest warrant was requested against the defence minister of the Sudan. The Court began operations in 2003, and in less than 10 years has issued 25 arrest warrants including against three heads of states.
“We started our work the same year as Facebook. In that time, Facebook has garnered 750 million members; we have 2.3 billion,” added Ocampo. “The International Criminal Court has been a huge success, we are growing faster than Facebook!”
The Justice Gala also featured a special music performance by Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier promoting, peace and justice through his music. The event was preceded by a special screening of the 2009 documentary The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court at Columbia University, hosted by Cinema for Peace Foundation and featuring an introduction by Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
The first Justitia Award was presented to the United Nations and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on May 30, 2010 for their immeasurable efforts in establishing and supporting the International Criminal Court. The Cinema for Peace Foundation is an international non-profit that brings together personalities from film and media as well as international society and business in order to bring humanitarian issues to public attention.