Yesterday, the Transitional Government of Tunisia completed the process of accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It becomes the first member of the Court from the North Africa region and the 116th State Party. The Accession is the result of a Presidential Decree dated 19 February 2011. The deposit of the instrument of accession was delayed to ensure that Tunisia would have advanced its process of ratification of the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court (APIC) and of the amendments to the Rome Statute adopted in June 2010 by the Kampala Review Conference concerning the crime of aggression and the use of some prohibited weapons as a war crime. These additional steps are forthcoming.
May I make one further suggestion to the Tunisian government. I raised this with civil society activists when I spoke in Tunis in late February of this year. Tunisia should also make a declaration pursuant to article 12(3) giving the Court jurisdiction from the date of entry into force of the Statute, that is, 1 July 2002, until yesterday. That way, crimes perpetrated in the past can also be address. Not only may this be of practical importance. It is also a good reminder to tyrants in other countries that they may find themselves faced with the Court for their deeds in the present, because when they lose power the new regime will make such a declaration.
Accession is similar in legal consequences to ratification. States that signed the Statute may ratify it; those that did not accede to the Statute. States were only entitled to sign the Statute until 31 December 2000.
What's next? Egypt? Libya? Syria?