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Romanian-Spanish common project: the creation of an international court against terrorism

Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu and his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo hosted an event on ideas for and challenges against an international court to prosecute terrorism carried out in New York on Tuesday, on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly meeting. 

The initiative on the creation of an international court against terrorism was launched by Aurescu early this year, at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union, and it is now a Romanian-Spanish common project. 

According to a Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) release sent on Wednesday, in a speech at the event in New York, the Romanian chief diplomat mentioned the importance of debate on the Romanian-Spanish initiative for establishing an international court against terrorism. 

"This process has the merit of sending an important message: terrorism is a global threat which we must fight against with the law instruments, included: international justice and international criminal law. Every week, even every day the news stories on terrorist attacks strike fear into the entire international community. We need not only determination and unity, but also counter-action based on law," Aurescu is quoted in the release as saying. 

Aurescu argued about the added value that an international court against terrorism could bring in the current international context, saying : "From a conceptual stand, there is something missing in the international effort to fight against terrorism: an instrument combining the international element with the elements rooted in the rule of law." 

The Romanian head diplomat invited the participating states to join in the reflection and debate initiated by Romania and Spain, a debate meant "to lead to the achievement of the objective of having a world in which justice will prevail," says MAE. 

In his turn, Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo thanked his Romanian counterpart for the initiative of creating this court, which he joined, and underscored the need for political will on the level of the international community to combat terrorism by means of law. 

"Time has come to articulate the proper international legal mechanisms for combating terrorism," the Spanish head diplomat said, according to MAE. Moreover, he presented the main characteristics of the Romanian-Spanish initiative. 

Convenor of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court William Pace also took the floor during the event. The Coalition for the International Criminal Court includes 2,500 NGOs in 150 different countries working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

"The aim is to put an end to impunity. A constructive suggestion would be to focus on the areas where there is consensus and to start working on our objective from there," William Pace said. 

In his turn, Jean-Paul Laborde, executive director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) with the UN Assistant Secretary-General, said that he supports the Romanian-Spanish initiative because "terrorism is a crime that doesn't only affect the victims, but the nation as a whole." 

The initiative to create an international court against terrorism was also hailed by Jehangir Khan, Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office, MAE mentions. 

"We all agree on one thing: the fight against terrorism and violent extremism gathers us at the UN. We have an opportunity to reflect on this very important project proposed by Romania and Spain," he said. 

Moderating the event was Stefan Barriga, deputy permanent representative of the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the UN who has a special experience in international criminal law. Stefan Barriga was a coordinator of the Princeton Process on the Crime of Aggression concluded with the inclusion of this crime in the Statutes of the International Criminal Court in 2010. 

According to MAE, on the side-lines of the event, Aurescu and his Spanish counterpart had a meeting to discuss further promotion of the project for the establishment of an iternational court against terrorism.