|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Failure to Support International Criminal Court is Failing Humanity, Stresses
Deputy Secretary-General at Assembly of States Parties to Rome Statute
Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks to the tenth session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in New York on 12 December:
I am pleased to address you on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is away from Headquarters on official business. The Secretary-General extends his warmest wishes to all the States parties to the Rome Statute. He is very encouraged by the growing importance of the International Criminal Court and its role in the fight against impunity.
As depositary of the Statute, the Secretary-General was delighted to welcome Vanuatu’s accession as the 120th State party. This year also witnessed the first ratification of the amendment to Article 8 by San Marino in September. The United Nations will continue to encourage Member States to ratify the Rome Statute and its amendments.
The Secretary-General is fully aware of the challenges the Court faces, in particular in relation to the execution of arrest warrants. He has repeatedly called on States to enforce all outstanding arrest warrants, adhere to their obligations and respect the resolutions of the Security Council. He will continue to support the Court as appropriate whenever he can.
The Secretary-General and I would both like to acknowledge the vital role that Ambassador [Christian] Wenaweser has played in promoting the interests of the Court over the past three years. We also wish to congratulate Ambassador [Tiina] Intelmann on her election as President, and pledge our full support. The Secretary-General and I also wish to commend Prosecutor [Luis] Moreno Ocampo for his tireless efforts. He has demonstrated independence, commitment to justice and dedication to the victims of the serious crimes handled by the Court. The Secretary-General is confident that his successor, [Fatou] Bensouda, will continue the impressive work she has already started in her current role of Deputy Prosecutor.
As you cast your votes tomorrow for the election of six judges, I encourage you to select the best qualified candidates. The Court’s credibility depends crucially on having highly qualified judges competently managing the courtroom and handing down solid and convincing judgements.
Indeed, as we look towards the delivery of the Court’s first Judgment, in the Lubanga case, let us recognize that this will represent a shift in focus from the Prosecutor to the judges. The judicial process and the judgements will be the determining factors for the Court’s acceptance, and for its legitimacy as a mechanism that provides a fair trial, but also ensures that those most responsible for heinous crimes do not go unpunished.
The International Criminal Court is experiencing understandable challenges in consolidating itself as part of the community of international organizations. Yet, let me be clear: the International Criminal Court is the vital and indispensable centrepiece of our system of international criminal justice. It is our best hope of ending impunity for international crimes. It is the vehicle with which our generation can significantly advance the cause of justice and, in so doing, reduce and prevent unspeakable suffering. If we fail to support the International Criminal Court and its noble cause, we fail humanity.
The United Nations will continue to work closely with the Court. Our support includes providing services and facilities for the Court’s field missions, as well as facilitating the provision of information. Our partnership is based on shared values and a mutual respect for our respective mandates and goals. We are strongly committed to strengthening what is already a productive relationship.
On behalf of the Secretary-General, allow me to wish you success in the impending elections and in your important deliberations.
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