06 December 2010
Your Excellency Mr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President of Colombia,
Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, President of the Assembly of States Parties,
Honourable Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the Court,
Mr. Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo,
Madam Registrar, Silvana Arbia,
Madam Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you to the Ninth Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
At your last meeting, in Kampala, you made history. You fulfilled the promise of Rome and completed the ICC Statute by agreeing on the definition of the crime of aggression ... and you agreed on the conditions under which the Court is to exercise its jurisdiction with respect to that crime. These are landmark achievements.
Now it is time to build on these accomplishments. I encourage all States parties to ratify the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute.
The international community has overwhelmingly embraced the idea that we have entered an age of accountability, and that there can be absolutely no immunity for international crimes.
But make no mistake: to prevail in the fight against impunity, we must stay on the offence. At a time when international justice is under attack in many places, we must strengthen our resolve to shut the door on the era of impunity and ensure that in this new era, perpetrators truly answer for their crimes.
I wish to emphasize, in this respect, the crucial importance of States complying with their responsibilities to enforce all outstanding arrest warrants.
The ICC faces challenges in consolidating itself as an indispensable part of the community of international organizations. The Court does not yet enjoy universal support. There are misunderstandings about when, where and how it should act.
The battle for trust in the ICC must be won in the courtroom. That is the place to prove to the world that the Court can deliver on its noble mandate - independently, impartially and without regard to political considerations.
Warrants of arrest and summonses have been issued, suspects have been arrested and brought to the Court, some have even arrived on their own. Proceedings are under way.
But the trials need to be completed expeditiously, in a manner that instills confidence in the Court and in its ability to achieve justice clearly and transparently for all the world to see.
The ICC is the centerpiece of our system of international criminal justice. If we are serious about combating impunity and promoting accountability, we must support its work.
Our generation has the opportunity to decisively advance the cause of justice and prevent horrendous suffering.
If we fail to heed Kampala's call, we fail humanity.
With that in mind, excellencies, extinguished delegates, I wish you success in your important deliberations.
Thank you very much.