European Union

In international justice, progress is being made. The arrests of Jean-Pierre Bemba and Radovan Karadžić and the indictment by the International Criminal Court of Thomas Lubanga, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo, former warlords in the Democratic Republic of the Congo accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, represent a significant advance towards ending impunity for massive human rights violations. The European Union supports the action of the International Criminal Court.

The EU's action in the field of human rights is steadily being reinforced. On the basis of its Guidelines, it intervenes, wherever possible, through diplomatic démarches or declarations, when a person is condemned to death, tortured, imprisoned for his or her opinions or convictions, or threatened. The EU pays particular attention to promoting the rights of the child and will shortly extend the range of its action to include the situation of female victims of violence.

The EU promotes human rights when participating in crisis management. It takes them actively into account when planning, conducting and evaluating ESDP operations. Some of these missions include experts with responsibility for women's rights or for the situation of children affected by armed conflict.

As well as intervening, where necessary, as a matter of urgency to prevent human rights violations, the European Union intends to give priority to dialogue and cooperation. It seeks to maintain close collaboration with civil society organisations. The EU is currently engaged in more than thirty dialogues and consultations on human rights with third countries in five continents, and they are rapidly growing in number, evidence of the ever-increasing importance which attaches to human rights in international relations. In addition to the cooperation programmes run by Member States, the Commission has reinforced its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, which now has an annual budget of nearly EUR 140 million.

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