– As delivered –
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, MARÍA FERNANDA ESPINOSA
Delivered by PR of Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Kornelios Korneliou
29 October 2018
Your Excellency, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of the International Criminal Court,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year’s debate on the report of the International Criminal Court coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute.
This is thus an important opportunity for the international community to assess the progress that the Statute has allowed, and to reflect on the commitment to put an end to impunity for those most serious, most heinous crimes.
Because the Rome Statute delivered a message; it expressed to the people of the world that we will stand with the victims; that we will fight impunity; that we will respond to acts of genocide and crimes against humanity; and that we will not tolerate war crimes, or crimes of aggression.
Colleagues, twenty years later, we would be wise to recall the united stance of the international community in standing up for all people, everywhere.
While the primary duty to exercise criminal justice remains with States, the ICC has become an indispensable part of the overall architecture.
For many around the world, the very existence of the Court is indicative of humanity’s will to protect people, to pursue those who would do us harm, and to protect and promote human rights.
In that sense, it is important to recognize that the Court is much more than an instrument of prosecution; it’s existence serves also as a deterrent, and a tool for the prevention of international crimes.
By extension, the Court thus helps to maintain stable societies that are able to protect human rights and pursue sustainable development.
As stated by the General Assembly, the Court is a core element of “…a multilateral system that aims to end impunity, promote the rule of law, promote and encourage respect for human rights, achieve sustainable peace and further the development of nations”.
Colleagues, if the wars and atrocities of our history have taught us anything, it is that our shared peace and prosperity depends on multilateral efforts and institutions, such as the ICC. If we are to protect, defend and stand on behalf of those most vulnerable in their time of need, then we must stand behind and in support of those very institutions and the principles that guide them.