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Switzerland backs world court in the Hague

The Swiss government says the ad hoc tribunals for former Yugoslavia are not enough


The government has signalled its support for the setting up of an international criminal court in the Hague. The Swiss foreign ministry said a permanent tribunal was needed to deal with crimes against humanity.

Announcing its support for the court on Wednesday, the cabinet said the ad hoc tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda were insufficient, and that a permanent authority was needed to try suspects accused of genocide, war crimes and human rights abuses.

"Setting up a permanent criminal court that aims to put an end to leaving criminals unpunished has been expected for decades," the cabinet said in a statement. "Its creation marks a valuable contribution to peace and security."

The decision, which still needs parliamentary approval, would add Switzerland's voice to those of 22 countries which have already ratified the treaty drawn up in Rome in 1998.

The cabinet said the court would be a guarantor of peace and security, and was in keeping with Switzerland's humanitarian tradition. It added that it was a natural step forward from the Geneva conventions.

The proposal for an international court has come up against strong opposition, most notably from the United States, which refuses to accept the court's jurisdiction over its soldiers abroad.

A total of 60 countries must ratify the treaty before the court can come into existence. Around 115 countries have signalled their willingness to do so.

swissinfo with agencies

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