In 1996, as the nations of the world were beginning talks to establish a permanent international criminal court, a number of individuals and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) came together to support and promote the establishment of the International Criminal Court. To continue this important work, many of these individuals and NGOs formed the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC), the U.S. national affiliate of the CICC.
Since that time, a number of Washington DC-based NGOs have continued working together in an informal coalition known as the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court (WICC).
In 1998, the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, was adopted. In 2002, the treaty entered into force and the Court began functioning. There are now 124 countries that have ratified the Rome Statute and become state parties to the Court. Another 31 countries are signatories to the Statute. The ICC is a global institution that works to end impunity for the world’s worst crimes, promote accountability in atrocity and conflict situations, and strengthen the cause of global justice.
The U.S. has not yet ratified the Rome Statute and joined the Court, but has engaged productively with the ICC. WICC believes that the U.S. can play a vital role in the development of the Court, and that a close relationship with the ICC is in America’s best interest. The ICC embodies foundational American values of accountability, justice, and human rights, and U.S. engagement with the ICC is vital to strengthening U.S. global leadership and promoting peace. Thus, WICC works to increase U.S. involvement with and support for the ICC. WICC believes that U.S. engagement and cooperation with the ICC is good for the U.S., good for the ICC, and good for the world.
WICC is an informal and nonpartisan coalition of diverse NGOs, including human rights groups, faith-based groups, professional associations, public policy groups, and others. WICC is currently chaired by Naseem Kourosh of the U.S. Baha'i Office of Public Affairs and John Washburn of the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC).
WICC participants include:
American Bar Association – Center for Human Rights
American Humanist Association
American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court
American University Washington College of Law – War Crimes Research Office
Amnesty International USA
Armenian National Committee of America
Baha’is of the United States – Office of Public Affairs
Citizens for Global Solutions
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – Disciples Center for Public Witness
Darfur Women Action Group
Franciscan Action Network
Fund for Peace
Human Rights Watch
International Alliance of Women
International Criminal Court Alliance
International Criminal Court Student Network
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Education Association
Physicians for Human Rights
Presbyterian Church USA
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ – Justice and Witness Ministries
United Nations Association – Greater Philadelphia