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World: International Court Receives Final Ratification

United Nations, 11 April 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A treaty creating the world's first permanent court to try crimes against humanity gained its final necessary signatures today. Ten countries, including Bosnia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania lent their support to the ratification of the Rome treaty creating the court. The United Nations top legal official, Hans Corell, called the event historic.

"A page in the history of humankind is being turned. May all this serve our society well in the years to come," Corell said.

The court, to be based in The Hague, will come into force 1 July and is expected to start its work next year. Its jurisdiction will include genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed after 1 July. But it still faces some notable opposition.

The U.S. administration of President George W. Bush says it will not present the treaty for ratification and is considering revoking the signature of former President Bill Clinton on the grounds that it could involve the unfair targeting of U.S. service members deployed worldwide. Russia and China have also not ratified the statute and few countries in Asia support the court.