1 November 2012
General Assembly
GA/11305

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

29th Meeting (AM)


Praising Work of International Court of Justice, General Assembly Delegates Say


Body Vital to Promoting Rule of Law, Peaceful Settlement of Disputes

 


Assembly Also Hears Report on Work of International Criminal Court


With an outpouring of praise for the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, delegates gathered today in the General Assembly to assess the work of that body and to hear the introduction of the report on the work of the International Criminal Court.


Presenting the report of the International Court of Justice, its President, Peter Tomka, said, “[T]he Court continued to fulfil its role as the international community of States’ forum of choice for the peaceful settlement of every kind of international dispute over which it has jurisdiction.”  During the period under review 15 contentious cases and one advisory procedure had been pending before the Court and one additional contentious case had been added.  The court had delivered four judgments and one Advisory Opinion in that time.


After detailing the Court’s work over the past year, he noted that although the body had received less than 1 per cent of the United Nations regular budget, he hoped that its contributions would be measured against the progress made by it in advancing international justice and the peaceful settlement of disputes between States.


Every delegate to take the floor following that presentation confirmed that, indeed, the Court’s work in establishing and clarifying international law was highly regarded.


Singapore’s representative said that it was “incontrovertible” that the International Court of Justice commanded immense prestige and authority.  Firstly, it was the only international court of a universal character with general jurisdiction.  Secondly, it was the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and drew upon a heritage dating back to the Permanent Court of International Justice.  Its judgments had been, and continued to be, extremely influential, and therefore had a deep impact on the development of international law.  The Court thus played a fundamental role in ensuring that the rule of law in international relations was maintained and strengthened.


Welcoming the growing trend towards a greater use of the Court by Member States, Japan’s delegate said that “at no time in history do we hear every day the mounting expectations across the globe for international law to serve as a device for disentangling […] heated controversies and diffusing […] tensions by providing the actors with a common language.”  Threat or use of force was prohibited under international law.

Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran’s delegate also reaffirmed the delegation’s position on the issue of the non-use and non-threat of use of force.  The Court had a significant role in promoting the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, in particular in a way in which international peace and security were not endangered.  Regarding the Court’s Advisory Opinions, he urged the Security Council, in particular, to make greater use of the Court as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations on a number of issues, including controversial ones.


In that regard the delegate of the Philippines said that the creation of the International Criminal Court and specialized dispute settlement mechanisms such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and others did not make the International Court of Justice any less important.  To the contrary, the new international legal architecture only strengthened the Court as the only forum for resolving disputes between States concerning the cast field of general international law.


Peru’s representative recalled the Assembly’s 24 September meeting on the rule of law, in which a Declaration had been adopted restating, among other things, the Court’s importance for the promotion of that principle.  That meeting had also reaffirmed the obligation of States to comply with the decisions of the Court, he said.  Consequently, Peru felt that the jurisdiction of the Court should be universally accepted by all States and urgently urged States that had not yet done so to accept the Court’s universal jurisdiction.


Norway’s delegate also said that the potential for active use of the Court as a key organ for the peaceful settlement of disputes in conformity with the Charter surpassed the number of States — 67 so far — that had made a declaration recognizing the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court.


As the only speaker whose country had received a judgment during the reporting period, Italy’s representative said that States had an obligation under the Charter to settle their disputes peacefully, requiring not only a peaceful resolution to disputes but their actual settlement.  Any protracted non-compliance with international law or delay in executing obligations deriving from that law created tensions, fostered unfriendly relations and could even affect common battles to combat crime and strengthen the rule of law.


Turning to the International Criminal Court, its President, Sang-Hyun Song, said that that body was “the centrepiece of a new justice paradigm, joined by 121 States that have decided to bolster their national jurisdictions with an international court of last resort in order to prevent impunity for the gravest crimes known to humankind.”


He gave an overview of the Court’s history and highlighted the most important developments during the reporting period.  Among them was the first judgment and sentencing rendered by the Court, from its first trial, regarding the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had come to the Court in 2004.  That concerned Mr. Thomas Lubanga, who was found guilty of the enlistment, conscription and use of children under the age of 15 for active participation in hostilities in the Ituri District between September 2001 and August 2003, and had been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.


He then detailed the status of each of the other cases and situations before the Court involving seven countries — the Democratic Republic of Congo; Uganda; the Central African Republic; Darfur, Sudan; Kenya; Libya; and Cote d’Ivoire — and an eighth, Mali, which was now undergoing a preliminary investigation.


Noting that in Uganda, arrest warrants against Mr. Joseph Kony and three other alleged leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) had been outstanding since 2005, he said:  “I find this unacceptable and an affront to all those affected by the conflict in Northern Uganda.”  He urged all relevant States to cooperate in bringing those persons to justice.


He stressed the importance of cooperation with the Court by the international community in realizing its declared determination to end impunity for the gravest crimes.  Cooperation posed special challenges regarding situations referred to the Court by the Security Council on the basis of the Charter.  In its resolutions adopted under Chapter VII, the Council urged all States to cooperate with the Court in the context of the Darfur and Libya situations.


In closing, he said:  “The Rome Statute empowers victims in multiple ways:  as participants in judicial proceedings, as recipients of reparations following a conviction, and as beneficiaries of victims’ assistance provided by the Trust Fund for Victims that is associated with the ICC.”  It had unprecedented potential to bring retributive and restorative justice closer together.  “Through its engagement in situation countries, the Trust Fund for Victims is able to give a human face to the process of international criminal justice.”


Also speaking today were the representatives Australia (on behalf also of Canada and New Zealand), India and Romania.


All speakers who had not been heard on either of today’s agenda items would have the opportunity to present their statements on Tuesday, 6 November.


The General Assembly will next convene on Monday, 5 November at 10:00 a.m. to take up the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency.


Background


The General Assembly met today to consider the work of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court over the past year.


For that discussion, the Assembly had before it the Report of the International Court of Justice (document A/67/4), covering the period 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012.  The Court, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and often referred to as the World Court, consists of 15 judges jointly elected for a term of nine years by the General Assembly and the Security Council.  Every three years, one third of the seats fall vacant.  The last elections to fill such vacancies were held in the last quarter of 2011.


At 31 July 2012, there were 11 contentious cases on the Court’s List, the report states.  Those cases came from around the world:  five were between Latin American States, two between European States, two between African States and one between Asian States, while one was intercontinental in character.  The subject matter in those cases varied widely, including territorial and maritime disputes, environmental damage, violation of territorial integrity, violation of international humanitarian law and human rights, genocide, interpretation and application of international conventions and treaties and interpretation of the Court’s judgments.  The report details the status of all the aforementioned cases.


The report notes the Court’s sustained level of activity, made possible thanks to a significant number of steps it has taken over recent years to enhance its efficiency, enabling it to cope with the steady increase in its workload.  The Court has successfully cleared its backlog of cases.  States considering coming to the principal judicial organ of the United Nations can now be confident that, as soon as the written phase of the proceedings has come to a close, the Court will be able to move to the oral proceedings in a timely manner.


The report expresses the Court’s appreciation of the General Assembly’s approval of a number of posts, in both the professional and general services categories, for the current biennium.  Unfortunately, it notes, the Court was not granted its request for a P-2 post within the Department of Legal Matters, that has become necessary because of the growing complexity (both factual and legal) of cases, the increase in the number of incidental proceedings (in the handling of which the Department of Legal Matters plays a very substantial role), and the Court’s decision to deliberate on several cases at the same time in order to avoid any backlog.  Creating that post would have put current members of the Department in a better position to cope with the increase in the legal duties related to the handling of cases submitted to the Court.


The significant appropriation, approved by the Assembly in 2009, for the replacement and modernization of the audiovisual equipment in its historic courtroom, the Great Hall of Justice in the Peace Palace, and the Press Room, to be spent during the biennium 2010-2011, was used for the purchase of the equipment for which funding had been approved, in December 2011, according to the report.  At the end of the period under review, the Great Hall of Justice was undergoing renovation, in collaboration with the Carnegie Foundation, which owns the building.  The report also outlines the Court’s concerns regarding certain proposals relating to the pension scheme for judges made during the period under review.


As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, everything the Court does promotes the rule of law, the report states.  It hands down judgments and gives advisory opinions in accordance with its Statute, and thus contributes to promoting and clarifying international law.  It also ensures the greatest possible global awareness of its decisions through its publications, its multimedia offerings and its Website, which now features the entire body of its jurisprudence — as well as that of its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice — and which provides useful information for States wishing to submit a potential dispute to the Court.  It also receives many visitors every year and provides internships for students, enhancing their understanding of international law.


The Assembly also had before it the Secretary-General’s report on Expenses incurred and reimbursements received by the United Nations in connection with assistance provided to the International Criminal Court (document A/67/378) covering the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012.  The report provides itemized details of facilities and services provided to the Court by the United Nations and by various offices away from Headquarters.


During the reporting period, the report states, the United Nations provided facilities and services to the Court in the amount of $806,955, including, inter alia, costs for staff who worked exclusively on matters pertaining to the Court, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization satellite communications, conference and related services, and costs incurred in connection with recruitment, field security and library services.


According to the report, additional expenses in the amount of $441,149 were incurred by the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the United Nations Office at Vienna, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the Global Service Centre, the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the United Nations Office at Nairobi and the United Nations Office at Geneva for services provided during the reporting period.


The Court has regularly reimbursed the United Nations upon receipt of invoices.


Also before the Assembly was the eighth annual Report of the International Criminal Court (document A/67/308) for the period 1 August to 31 July 2012.


Created by international treaty, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which was adopted on 17 July 1998 and entered into force on 1 July 2002, the Court holds an independent mandate aimed at ending impunity for the gravest crimes of concern to the international community. The Court, which is independent from, but has close historical, legal and operational ties to the United Nations, celebrated its tenth anniversary on 1 July 2012.


The report notes significant progress at the Court during the reporting period, including:  the issuance of its first judgment and sentence; one new case at the confirmation of charges phase; two new cases in the trial phase; and four new arrest warrants.  However, requests for arrest and surrender issued by the Court are outstanding against 12 individuals.


The number of States parties to the Court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, increased from 115 to 121, the report further states.


The Court continues to benefit from the support of its States parties and of international and regional organizations, including the United Nations.  It also receives valuable ad hoc assistance from States which are not party to its Statute.  After 10 years in existence, the Court needs strong political support in order to fulfill its mandate.  This includes the implementation of the Court’s requests for cooperation, in particular regarding the outstanding arrest warrants and the identification and freezing of assets, the allocation of adequate resources, public and diplomatic support for the Court’s activities and other forms of assistance, especially regarding the protection of victims and witnesses.


Report of the International Court of Justice


PETER TOMKA, President of the International Court of Justice, presenting that body’s report for the period 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012, said that “the Court continued to fulfil its role as the international community of States’ “forum of choice for the peaceful settlement of every kind of international dispute over which it has jurisdiction.”  He noted that the Court had cleared its backlog of cases, so that States thinking of submitting cases to the Court could be confident that as soon as written exchanges were completed, the Court would be able to move to the oral stage without delay.


During the period under review 15 contentious cases and one advisory procedure had been pending before the Court, he said, with 11 contentious cases remaining so at the end of the reporting period.  Also during the period one new contentious case was submitted by Nicaragua relating to the Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River ( Nicaragua v. Costa Rica).  The Court also held public hearings in three cases:  ( Germany v. Italy:   Greece intervening); ( Belgium v. Senegal); and ( Nicaragua v. Colombia), on jurisdictional, extradition and territorial and maritime issues.  It had also held hearings on a frontier dispute between Burkina Faso and Niger on which it had begun deliberations, and it was set to begin hearings in a maritime dispute between Peru and Chile.


Further, he said, the Court had delivered Judgments in four cases during the reporting period.  The first of those, between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece on the application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995, found that Greece had violated its obligations under article 11 of the Accord, by objecting to the admission of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but rejected other claims that country had made.


The second judgment rendered concerned a case between Germany and Italy, with Greece intervening, in which Germany requested that the Court find that in permitting civil cases to be brought against Germany in Italy’s courts, regarding violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Third Reich during the Second World War, Italy had failed to respect the jurisdictional immunity enjoyed by Germany under international law, among other claims, he said.  In its judgment, the Court found that Italy had, in fact, violated Germany’s immunity.  In addition, it had found that Italy must ensure that the decisions of its courts and other judicial authorities infringing the immunity of Germany under international law cease to have effect.


In a case regarding Ahmadou Sadio Diallo — between Republic of Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo — regarding compensation to Guinea relating to extradition, he continued, the Court considered that $85,000 would provide appropriate compensation for damage suffered by Mr. Diallo and, relying on the jurisprudence of regional human rights courts, had awarded the sum of $10,000 for the loss of his personal property.  Other claims for compensation were dismissed as being beyond the scope of the proceedings as the Court had previously found them inadmissible.  The compensation was paid by the Democratic Republic of Congo within the time-limit fixed by the Court.


He next spoke of the case between Belgium and Senegal, which concerned questions of the obligation to prosecute or extradite.  Belgium maintained that by neither prosecuting nor expediting the former President of Chad, Hissène Habré, for torture, crimes against humanity, and other crimes allegedly committed during his tenure, Senegal, where that former leader was living in exile, was in violation of the Convention against Torture.  After determining several jurisdictional issues, the Court had found that Senegal had violated its obligations under two provisions of the Convention and declared that the case must be submitted to competent authorities for prosecution if it did not extradite Mr. Habré.

In its advisory opinion concerning Judgment No. 2867 of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization upon a complaint filed against the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which regarded contract matters of an employee of the Fund, he said, the Court found unanimously that the Tribunal’s Judgment No. 2867 was valid.  Addressing the issue of equal access to available appellate or similar remedies, he said that while the United Nations had reformed its system of administrative justice, the opportunity to challenge a judgment of the Tribunal was available only to international organizations authorized to do so under the Statute of that body and not to any staff member affected by such a decision.


In closing, he noted that while the Court received less than 1 per cent of the Organization’s regular budget, he hoped that its contributions would be measured against the progress made by it in advancing international justice and the peaceful settlement of disputes between States.


Statements


HOSSEIN GHARIBI (Iran), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reaffirmed and underscored the delegation’s principled position on the issue of the non-use and non-threat of use of force.  The International Court of Justice had a significant role in promoting the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, in particular in a way in which international peace and security were not endangered.  Regarding the Court’s Advisory Opinions, he urged the Security Council, in particular, to make greater use of the Court as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations on a number of issues, including controversial ones.


The Council should also use the Court as a source of interpretation of international law, and urged that the decisions of the Council should be reviewed by the Court.  The movement also invited the General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations, as well as its specialized agencies, to request Advisory Opinions from the Court.  The Movement further reaffirmed the importance of the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice on the illegality of the threat of use of nuclear weapons.  There was an obligation to complete, in good faith, agreements leading to complete nuclear disarmament.  The Movement also continued to call for full respect by Israel and Member States of the United Nations of the Court’s opinion regarding the legal consequences of the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and requested another opinion of the Court regarding the legality of that longstanding occupation.


RICHIARD ROWE, Senior Legal Advisor, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, speaking also for Canada and New Zealand, expressed strong support for the International Court of Justice in its role as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.  “The sustained case-load of the Court, covering a diversity of subject matter and geographic circumstance, demonstrates [its] universal appeal, and the vital role the Court plays in the promotion of the rule of law,” he said.


During the period under review, the Court handed down four judgements, one Advisory Opinion and three orders.  The report affirmed the Court had now cleared its backlog of cases.  But the Court’s agenda for the coming year would remain heavily charged as States continued to affirm their confidence in the body and its primary role in the peaceful settlement of international disputes.  The increased accessibility to the work of the Court through its publications, multimedia and Website was welcome.  He went on to urge Member States to deposit with the Secretary-General a declaration of acceptance of the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction if they had not done so.


NAJMA HEPTULLA, Member of Parliament of India, said his delegation attached the highest importance to the International Court of Justice as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, whose foremost purpose was the maintenance of international security and peace.  The Court had resolved disputes peacefully since its establishment.  Underlining its unique status among the international courts and tribunals, he said that the Statute of the Court was an integral part of the United Nations Charter and that the institution enjoyed universal character with general jurisdiction, as opposed to other international judicial entities that had competence and jurisdiction only in specific areas. 


During the last year, the Court had handed down four judgements and one Advisory Opinion.  In one judgement, the Court had highlighted the significance of the principle of sovereign immunity of States while in another, it had confirmed the relevance of the principle of either prosecute or extradite.  The Court’s docket of pending cases had grown consistently in factual and legal complexity, with the number of such contentious cases standing at 11, involving States around the world.  Highlighting the Court’s second function, which was to provide advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by organs of the United Nations and specialized agencies, he said the Court continued to clarify the key international law issues.


Mr. GALEA ( Romania) praised the effectiveness of the Court in a boundary delimitation case regarding Kosovo.  The outcome of that case had enabled him to say that the use of the Court’s jurisdiction was much more effective than engaging in negotiations on customary norms.  The representative called on States to make every effort to maintain the effectiveness of the Court and announced his country’s intention to convene a national debate on the work and jurisdiction of the Court.


GONZALO BONIFAZ ( Peru) said that the establishment of the International Court of Justice, as a principal organ of the United Nations, aimed to create a universal system to help States resolve their differences peacefully.  In that regard, it was worthwhile to recall that the Manila Declaration had restated that disputes of a legal nature should be submitted to the Court, and that the forwarding of such cases to the Court should not be considered an “unfriendly act” between States.  Moreover, the current session of the Assembly was deeply significant for the work of the Court, as the President himself had asked States to consider the peaceful settlement of disputes.  During his statement during the Assembly’s general debate this year, the Foreign Minister of Peru had reaffirmed his country’s full respect for the work of the Court, and had urged other states to comply with it as well.


Likewise, he recalled the Assembly’s 24 September meeting on the rule of law, in which a Declaration had been adopted restating, among other things, the Court’s importance for the promotion of that principle.  The holding of that meeting had also reaffirmed the obligation of States to comply with the decisions of the Court, he said.  Consequently, Peru felt that the jurisdiction of the Court should be universally accepted by all States.  Pursuant to its latest report, 67 States had done so to date, he said, issuing an urgent appeal to those that had not yet done so to accept the Court’s universal jurisdiction.  Peru restated its fullest backing for the work of the Court on both contentious and consultative issues.  It also behoved States to ensure that the Court enjoyed sufficient resources to carry out its work; in that regard, Peru noted with concern the observations of the President of the Court that a “proper balance” must be struck, ensuring that budgetary measures in no way impaired the ability of the Court to carry out its work.


MARCUS SONG ( Singapore) recalled that, under international law, there was no formal hierarchy amongst the various judicial mechanisms and international tribunals.  However, it was “incontrovertible” that the International Court of Justice commanded immense prestige and authority.  Firstly, it was the only international court of a universal character with general jurisdiction.  Secondly, it was the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and drew upon a heritage dating back to the Permanent Court of International Justice.  Its judgments had been, and continued to be, extremely influential, and therefore had a deep impact on the development of international law.  The Court thus played a fundamental role in ensuring that the rule of law in international relations was maintained and strengthened.


During the period under review, he said, the Court had taken the opportunity to clarify the jurisprudence relating to the jurisdiction of the Court in response to requests to adjudicate and render Advisory Opinions.  Those clarifications were useful in that developing area of international law, and Singapore anticipated that there would be further opportunities in that regard.  It also looked forward to reviewing the views of the Court on issues relating to the growing field of environmental law.  The delegation applauded the Court for successfully clearing its backlog of cases.  It also noted that the Court’s request for an additional P-2 post, which was not granted, had not been “made lightly”, and that it reflected efforts of the Court to increase its efficiency.  Singapore therefore supported that request.


EDUARDO JOSE A. DE VEGA ( Philippines) began by making several recollections about the Court.  Among those, he said that Article 92 of the United Nations Charter defined the Court as the world body’s principal judicial organ, and that the Court’s purpose was to resolve disputes which could not otherwise be resolved by or through the political organs of the United Nations.  In addition, he recalled that a high-level meeting had recently been held on the rule of law, in which a Declaration was adopted recognizing that, “across and beyond of the United Nations system, we have the institutions, working methods and relationships to make the rule of law relevant to peace and security, to human rights and to development”.  One of those institutions was the International Court of Justice.


Among several other reflections, he stressed that “there is no doubt that the Court continues to play a vital role in international relations”.  Today there was an even greater need for the Court’s services.  Beginning with the Corfu Channel case in 1947 until the adoption in 1982 of the Manila Declaration, the Court had disposed of 49 contentious cases; however, since 1982, its workload had increased and it had disposed of 76 contentious cases in a comparably lesser period.  Indeed, the Court’s mandate and jurisdiction were sharper than ever before, he stressed.  The creation of the International Criminal Court and specialized dispute settlement mechanisms such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and others did not make the International Court of Justice any less important.  To the contrary, the new international legal architecture only strengthened the Court as the only forum for resolving disputes between States concerning the cast field of general international law. 


TSUNEO NISHIDA (Japan) said “at no time in history does the Court occupy such a preponderant role the international legal system as it does at this present time,” welcoming the growing trend towards a greater use of the Court by Member States.  A wide variety of disputes referred to the Court, from territorial and maritime boundary questions to rights of individuals, further testified to the confidence that Member States placed in the vigorous judicial work achieved by the Court.


Noting that the Court had rendered 60 judgements since 1990, compared with 52 during the first 44 years of its existence, he commended the Court for its high quality work, for its continued efforts to re-examine its procedures and working methods and for assuming the challenging task of warranting impartiality against political pressure.  As the recent High-Level Meeting on the Rule of Law had made clear, enhancing that principle had now become a common priority agenda of the international community.


“Indeed, again at no time in history do we hear every day the mounting expectations across the globe for international law to serve as a device for disentangling the heated controversies and diffusing the tensions by providing the actors with a common language,” he said.  Threat or use of force was prohibited under international law.  His Government reiterated that the universal acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction by Member States was a key step forward in enabling the enhancement of the rule of law at the international level.


CESARE MARIA RAGAGLINI ( Italy) said that within weeks of the Court’s judgment in its dispute with Germany, Italy’s domestic courts had already undertaken its implementation.  Further, the country was currently adopting legislation to strengthen compliance with the Court’s judgment.  Those actions demonstrated Italy’s commitment to the rule of law.


More generally, he said that States had an obligation under the Charter to settle their disputes peacefully, requiring not only a peaceful resolution to disputes but actual settlement of them.  Any protracted non-compliance with international law or delay in executing obligations deriving from that law created tensions, fostered unfriendly relations and could even affect common battles to combat crime and strengthen the rule of law.


ROLF EINAR FIFE ( Norway) said that the International Court of Justice was well placed to provide guidance, through its judicial activities, on how to counter difficulties arising from the diversification and expansion of international law, sometimes referred to as the fragmentation of the latter.  “We are convinced that the cohesion of international law is actively promoted notably through a coherent interpretation of treaties on the basis of the principles and rules contained in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties”, he said in that regard.  Norway noted that the potential for active use of the Court as a key organ for the peaceful settlement of disputes in conformity with the Charter surpassed the number of States — 67 so far — that had made a declaration recognizing the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court.  Some 300 international agreements also provided for the jurisdiction of the Court, he added.


The costs related to dispute settlement before the Court should not discourage States from submitting such cases, he went on.  States able to do so should therefore consider contributing to the Trust Fund from which States might apply for support in order to finance their dispute settlement or comply with the Court’s judgments.  In that regard, he announced that Norway had decided to contribute $80,000 to the Trust Fund.  Norway also welcomed the Court’s “seminal contributions” in various fields, including as regarded the development of the modern law of the sea and in particular its role in consolidating and refining principles of maritime delimitation.  The delegation was therefore pleased to note that in its first delimitation judgment, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea had also confirmed the cohesive body of law developed by the Court, thus contributing to the further consolidation and preventing the fragmentation of international law in that field.


Report of the International Criminal Court


Presenting the report of the International Criminal Court, its President, SANG-HYUN SONG said:  “At ten years old, the International Criminal Court is a thriving, independent organization with broad support.  It is the centrepiece of a new justice paradigm, joined by 121 States that have decided to bolster their national jurisdictions with an international court of last resort in order to prevent impunity for the gravest crimes known to humankind.”  He then gave a brief history of the Court from its initial contemplation, with the adoption of the Genocide Convention and the early work of the International Law Commission, through the entry into force of the Rome Statute.  “During its first decade, the International Criminal Court has firmly established its role in a multilateral system that aims to end impunity,” he said.


He then reviewed the work of the Court during the period from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012, highlighting the most important developments since his last report.  In that time Ms. Fatou Bensouda had been sworn in as the body’s second Prosecutor, six new judges had been elected, and a new President of the Assembly of States Parties had taken office.


During the reporting period, he said, the Court continued investigations in seven situations, in:  the Democratic Republic of Congo; Uganda; the Central African Republic; Darfur, Sudan; Kenya; Libya; and Cote d’Ivoire.  It had also seized on an eighth situation in Mali, which was now undergoing a preliminary investigation.


Regarding the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first investigation opened by the Prosecutor in 2004, there were seven active situations.  In the Court’s first trial, Mr. Thomas Lubanga was found guilty of the enlistment, conscription and use of children under the age of 15 for active participation in hostilities in the Ituri District between September 2001 and August 2003.  He had been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.  Further, the first decision on reparations for victims was issued, which had established principles relating to reparations and assigned the Trust Fund for Victims to collect proposals for victims’ reparations.  All of those actions were now under appeal and therefore not final.


He then detailed the status of each of the other cases relating to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which included the conclusion of one trial with a judgment expected shortly, the issue of a second arrest warrant with additional allegations for Mr. Bosco Ntaganda, who remained at large, the release from detention of Mr. Callixte Mbarushimana for insufficient evidence to substantiate charges against him, and issuance of a new warrant for Mr. Sylvestre Mudacumura, also currently at large.


Noting that in Uganda, arrest warrants against Mr. Joseph Kony and three other alleged leaders of the LRA had been outstanding since 2005, he said:  “I find this unacceptable and an affront to all those affected by the conflict in Northern Uganda.”  He urged all relevant States to cooperate in bringing those persons to justice.  Further, on the situation in Central African Republic, he said that the trial of Mr. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo had moved to the defence phase.


On Darfur, he said that one case was being prepared for trial relating to an attack on African Union peacekeepers, and that a new arrest warrant had been issued against Mr. Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, who also remained at large, along with three others against whom warrants were outstanding.  Regarding post-election violence in Kenya, two cases were now in trial phase and set to start next April.  Also there had been significant developments in the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, he said.  An arrest warrant had been issued for former President Laurent Gbagbo and he had been surrendered to the Court in November 2011.  That case was currently at pre-trial stage.


Regarding Libya, two suspects subject to arrest warrants, Mr. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Mr. Abdullah Senussi, were in Libyan custody and an admissibility challenge by Libya was currently pending before the Court.  He further noted that four of the Court’s staff members had been detained in Libya in the course of their official duties, and he expressed gratitude to the United Nations and all who had helped to secure their release.


He stressed the importance of cooperation with the Court by the international community in realizing its declared determination to end impunity for the gravest crimes.  Cooperation posed special challenges regarding situations referred to the Court by the Security Council on the basis of the Charter.  In its resolutions adopted under Chapter VII, the Council urged all States to cooperate with the Court in the context of the Darfur and Libya situations.


“The Rome Statute empowers victims in multiple ways:  as participants in judicial proceedings, as recipients of reparations following a conviction, and as beneficiaries of victims’ assistance provided by the Trust Fund for Victims that is associated with the International Criminal Court,” he said.  It had unprecedented potential to bring retributive and restorative justice closer together.  “Through its engagement in situation countries, the Trust Fund for Victims is able to give a human face to the process of international criminal justice,” he continued, citing its efforts in northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and its intentions to undertake programmes in the Central African Republic, initially with victims of sexual and gender based violence.  He called on States to financially support the Fund.


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