THE HAGUE, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Peace Palace in The Hague on Wednesday celebrated its centennial anniversary, in the presence of Dutch King Willem-Alexander, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Despite growing tensions in the Syria conflict, the festivities in The Hague continued to celebrate international peace and justice.
The Peace Palace is deemed to be a worldwide icon of Peace and Justice since its opening on August 28, 1913, eleven months before the start of World War I, as the location for the Permanent Court of Arbitration to solve conflicts between countries without war.
It is currently home to a number of international judicial institutions, including the UN International Court of Justice, or World Court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the renowned Peace Palace Library, as well as the Hague Academy of International Law.
"Today The Hague is known as the legal capital of the world ... (and) an epicenter of international justice and accountability," said Ban Ki-moon during his speech.
"I thank the government and people of the Netherlands for their many contributions to the development and advancement of international law," he said.
Ban called for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict.
"Let us say here in the Peace Palace: Give peace a chance, give diplomacy a chance. Stop fighting and start talking," he said.
Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, meanwhile, said that times had changed since the opening of the Peace Palace one hundred years ago.
At that time, according to Rutte, one could not imagine that those charged with crimes against humanity could be tried by international courts.
"Now that's normal," said Rutte. "More than ever before in world history, the international community is able to settle disputes peacefully and take action if the rule of law is violated. The Peace Palace is the symbolic birthplace and the engine room of this process. And that is what we are celebrating today."
Between August 28 and September 21, the UN Day of Peace, a series of special events will take place.
On Wednesday the program started with a ministerial conference on peaceful dispute resolution, chaired by Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans.