Saint Lucia signs up to International Criminal Court

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Saint Lucia has ratified the founding statute of the International Criminal Court and will become its 113th member state on November 1, the tribunal announced on Thursday.

"The ICC welcomes the Saint Lucia decision and sees it as a new sign of the international community's commitment to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes," the court said in a statement.

The ICC, the world's only independent, permanent tribunal to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, started operating in The Hague in 2002.

Its ranks do not include three permanent members of the UN Security Council: the United States, China and Russia.

The US under former president George W Bush refused to sign up to the Rome Statute for fear the court could target Americans out of political bias considering US dominance around the world.

There are cases in five countries before the court currently, involving conflicts in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

The court has issued warrants against 13 individuals, most notably for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

© 2010 AFP

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