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Annan bags justice award

afrol News, 10 December - The former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, will become the first outstanding individual to be feted with MacArthur Award for International Justice. He will be honourd by John and Catherine MacArthur of the United States.

The Award provides Annan with US $100,000 for his own work and invites him to suggest an additional US $500,000 to support an eligible non-profit working on international justice issues.

"Kofi Annan's life work embodies the values of justice and human rights and the eternal hope for a humane, peaceful world that justice makes possible," the Foundation President, Jonathan Fanton, said in a statement.

"Under his leadership at the United Nations the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established and the Responsibility to Protect became an accepted principle for international action in the face of human suffering. These building blocks of an effective international justice system will benefit the world for generations to come."

The ICC, the world's "court of last resort," prosecutes individuals accused of the most heinous crimes when governments fail to act. Its first cases address crimes in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda.

The foundation supported the international community's efforts to protect civilians in harm's way when their own governments cannot or will not.

Fanton said the MacArthur Foundation seeks to raise the profile of international justice issues during its 30th anniversary in 2008. As such, a series of symposia focusing on international justice in New York and other American universities will be organised. The New York discussion on March 20, 2008 immediately precedes an award ceremony where Mr Annan will deliver keynote remarks.

"Since our first grant to Amnesty International in 1978, the MacArthur Foundation has been committed to building a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world," said Fanton, urging the US to rethink its position on the court, considering its historical honour and role in advancing international justice.

The foundation's board was impressed with Annan's leadership to develop responsibility to protect, established the ICC and help ensure the UN refers cases to the court.

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