75 years ago, major leaders of the Nazi regime were prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the Nuremberg trials. This paved the way to the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on 9 December 1948, punishing genocide as a crime and setting out the legal basis for action by States to prevent such atrocities.
The legacy of Nuremberg lives on. Since 2002, the International Criminal Court stands as the world’s only permanent, independent court for the investigation and prosecution of the most heinous crimes.
As one of the strongest supporters of the Court, the EU will continue to protect the rights of victims to justice and reparation. To this end, our European Network of Contact Points in respect of persons responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (“Genocide Network”) ensures close cooperation between national authorities in investigating and prosecuting these horrendous crimes.
The rules-based international order is facing increased pressure. We need to protect it more than ever. Supporting the Responsibility to Protect and preventing genocide and other atrocity crimes form an integral part of the EU’s foreign and security policy. The new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is a landmark agreement in this regard. It allows the EU to target individuals, entities and bodies responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses, including genocide and crimes against humanity.
The EU will keep working with national and international partners including civil society to prevent genocide and impunity, all around the world. We owe it to the victims and to ourselves: only by acknowledging the atrocities of the past and by fighting violations when they occur we can build a better future.