PRAIA, Cape Verde, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Cape Verde is the latest nation to ratify the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court that prosecutes suspects of war crimes.
When the statute becomes effective in Cape Verde Jan. 1, the number of countries that have ratified the Rome Statute will be 119, the United Nations said Thursday in a release.
"As the first Lusophone [Portuguese-speaking] country in Africa to ratify the Rome Statute, Cape Verde has not only demonstrated its commitment to international criminal justice but also taken us one step further towards a truly universal system of the Rome Statute, representative of all peoples, cultures and legal systems of the world," Sang-Hyun Song, ICC president and judge, said.
The ICC, established in 1998, can try cases involving people charged with war crimes committed since July 2002. The U.N. Security Council, the ICC prosecutor or a state party to the court can initiate any proceedings, and the ICC acts only when individual countries are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute.