Every 17 July, people observe the World Day for International Justice (International Justice Day) to recognise the strengthening system of international justice. The day unites professionals, activists, and citizens around the world who wish to support justice, promote the rights of victims, and help in preventing crime that threatens peace, security, and the well-being of the world.
In 2012, EngageMedia published a video by Nerve Macaspac depicting the participation of the Cambodian-American Survivors of Genocide in the Khmer Rouge Trials conducted by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Starting in 1975 (the regime’s “Year Zero”), the Khmer Rouge devastated Cambodia in its effort to create a utopian agrarian society. The Khmer Rouge regime, under the leadership of Pol Pot, carried out the The Cambodian genocide. From 1975 to 1979, it resulted in the deaths of over 1.6 million people or about a fourth of Cambodia’s 1975 population.
The ECCC was established in 2003 and worked towards a model for post-conflict cooperation and reconciliation. However, after over a decade of trials and spending more than $300 million, the ECCC could sentence only three defendants, and the last verdict was on November 2018. Many families of the victims still await justice.
The second video by MalaysiaKini is an interview with award-winning British Filmmaker Callum Macrae, who, with his investigative documentary “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields,” exposed atrocities committed against civilian Tamils during the end of the Sri Lankan civil war.
The Sri Lankan government continues to reject the allegations of war crimes, and justice has not been done.
The third video, created by Democratic Voice of Burma, is an interview of Rohingya migrants at an internally displaced camp in Myanmar. They described their failed attempt to flee the country to escape poverty and persecution.
The Rohingya refugee crisis is a series of ongoing persecution by the Myanmar government against the Muslim Rohingya people. It has forced over a million Rohingyas to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, and they are eagerly waiting for their return – and justice.
One goal of International Justice Day is to promote international criminal justice, especially through support for the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is an independent international judicial institution capable of trying individuals accused of the most serious violations of human rights, which include the genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. On July 17, 1998, 120 countries of the world adopted the Rome Statute, creating the ICC.
To achieve justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity, we need organisations like the ICC to function without hindrance and find justice for the victims around the world so that crimes like these can be prevented in the future, and for those who commit them to be held accountable, achieving justice for everyone.