14 November 2012

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

Calling It Centrepiece of Global Justice System, Secretary-General


Celebrates International Criminal Court Tenth Anniversary


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the International Criminal Court, in The Hague on 14 November:

Your Majesty, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands;

Your Excellency Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute;

Your Honour Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the International Criminal Court;

Ms. Fatou Bensouda, ICC [International Criminal] Court Prosecutor;

Your Excellency Mr. Uri Rosenthal, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

I am pleased to address you on this historic occasion.  Congratulations on a decade of invaluable work for the international community.  I commend the tireless work of the ICC judges and prosecutors.

It has been a long journey from Nuremberg and Tokyo — a journey fraught with many doubts and difficulties.  But you persevered, and your steadfastness has seen us through.

The International Criminal Court is now firmly established as a fact of international life.  It is the centrepiece of the world’s system of international criminal justice.  The entry into force of the Rome Statute heralded the dawn of an age of accountability. 

Leaders and warlords can no longer perpetrate atrocities, safe in the knowledge that they will never be brought to justice for their heinous crimes.  Where once impunity prevailed, today there is an ever-growing emphasis on the responsibility of States to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  If they are unwilling or unable to do so, the International Criminal Court is there to hold perpetrators to account.

We are moving step by step towards universal ratification of the Rome Statute.  The thirst for justice is a desire held by people of all races, of all political systems, on all continents.

With our Relationship Agreement as a sure foundation, the United Nations is firmly committed to the International Criminal Court.  A United Nations official was the first witness to appear in a case before the Court.  I, myself participated in the first ICC Review Conference two years ago in Uganda.  I was very encouraged that that stock-taking exercise strengthened the Court in important ways.

We will continue to work closely with you and support your efforts to bring to justice those whose crimes shock the conscience of humankind.  Thank you for your contributions to our global mission of peace.

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For information media • not an official record