"The establishment of the International Criminal Court was a landmark in the efforts of the international community to enforce the applicability of international humanitarian law, and to advance the cause of justice and the rule of law on a universal scale," Mr. Ban said in a <"http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=4058">message to the Consultative Conference on International Criminal Justice.
The ICC is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and is based on a treaty known as the Rome Statue. To date, 100 States are party to the Statute, which has nearly 140 signatories.
The efforts by the UN to further the causes of peace, development and human rights are closely connected to the work of the ICC, Mr. Ban noted, adding that the world body stands ready to do all that is needed to "facilitate the Court's noble and important mission."
In the message, delivered by UN Legal Counsel Patricia O'Brien, the Secretary-General pointed out the increased support for the idea that justice must be an essential part of post-conflict strategies to ensure a sustainable peace.
This could take the form of international accountability mechanisms, boosting national accountability methods, and setting up possible non-judicial forums such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, he said.
Since the Rome Statue entered into force in 2002, Mr. Ban said, "the activities of the Court and its Prosecutor have had a discernible effect on potential perpetrators of international crimes."
Currently, four situations – the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and the Darfur region of Sudan – are under investigation by the ICC Prosecutor.