31 October 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 35th & 36th Meetings (AM & PM)

International Criminal Court Receives Mixed Performance Review, as General Assembly Concludes Discussion of Body’s Annual Report

Resolution on Sport for Peace, Development Unanimously Adopted

As the General Assembly concluded its debate today on the reports of the International Criminal Court, delegates alternatively praised its effectiveness in prosecuting crimes against humanity and criticized what they viewed as its partiality.

More than 30 speakers voiced statements on the Court, whose main purpose was to bring justice against those who committed crimes of atrocity on an international level.

Many speakers upheld the idea that the Court was essential for the enforcement of worldwide peace and justice, and commended its recent record of arrests, criminal cases and preliminary investigations.  The Court had been tangibly helping to advance international justice, attested the representative of Cyprus.  Australia’s representative, stressing that in the last 12 years atrocities had been committed in many locations on an alarming scale, said the Court deserved the “unfailing support of every Member,” especially when States were unable or unwilling to take action.  Montenegro’s representative said the increase in cases of genocide and armed conflicts meant greater attention was needed to improve international mechanisms to fight impunity. 

But several members took the opposite view, especially some representing African States, who said the Court was partial to interfering with the crimes committed on their continent.  Sudan’s representative said the Court had become a tool in international conflicts and political action by focusing on Africa and targeting its leaders, while ignoring atrocities in other regions, an idea echoed by Syria’s representative, who said some countries had prevented the adoption of a Security Council resolution to hold Israel responsible for crimes against humanity.  Senegal’s representative said the Council must act responsibly and in a non-politicized way to avoid being suspected of selectivity and double standards.

A common refrain among the speakers was the balance needed between the jurisdiction of the body and the prosecution of serious crimes in national courts.  Colombia’s representative called the principle of complementarity the “backbone of criminal justice,” while Georgia’s representative said “positive complementarity” would conserve the Court’s financial resources and reduce the need for additional budget allocations.  While reaffirming the importance of the universality of the Court, Costa Rica’s speaker said it was a court of last resort, and was not created to replace national tribunals.

Of deep concern among some delegates was the fact that, although a number of arrest warrants had been issued by the Court, 13 were outstanding, a result of a lack of cooperation among some Member States to apprehend individuals, undermining the Court’s ability to deliver justice, they said.  Others expressed worries that many States had not yet ratified the Rome Statute.  Mexico’s representative noted that the period covered by the Court’s report - July 2013 to June 2014 -  was the first in which no State had become a party to the Statute.

Looking forward to the election of a new Court president, Brazil’s representative welcomed the decision of the Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties to the Court to endorse Senegal’s Minister of Justice, Sidiki Kaba, for the position. 

Speakers also called for strengthening the working relationship between the Court and the United Nations, particularly the Council.  In view of the Court’s increasing workload under tighter budgetary restrictions, several delegates said that body would need financial help and reforms in order to manage its caseload.   New Zealand’s representative welcomed recent efforts to analyse and improve existing procedures and approaches, including by both the Court’s Registrar and Prosecutor.

Also today the Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution, introduced by Tunisia’s representative, on sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace. 

Also delivering statements were representatives of Hungary, Romania, the Philippines, Guatemala, Slovenia, Poland, Japan, Liechtenstein, South Africa, Algeria, Switzerland, Uruguay, Cuba, Libya, United States, Argentina, Russian Federation, Spain, Estonia, Uganda, Turkey and Armenia.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 3 November to consider the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


The General Assembly met today to conclude its debate on the work of the International Criminal Court over the past year. (For background, see Press Release GA/11576 of 30 October.) It also considered the draft resolution on Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace (document A/69/L.5).

By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would invite Member States and organizations of the United Nations system, the media, civil society, academia and the private sector to collaborate with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace to promote greater awareness and action to foster peace and achieve the Millennium Development Goals through sports-based initiatives and the sport for development and peace agenda.  Further, it would encourage Member States to adopt best practices and means to promote the practice of sport, designate a focal point on the matter within their respective Governments, contribute to the Trust Fund for Sport for Development and Peace, and form partnerships with the United Nations Office dedicated to those aims.

The Assembly also would urge Member States that had not yet done so to consider acceding to and implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the International Convention against Doping in Sport.  It would welcome the ongoing efforts of the Sport for Development and Peace International Workshop, including its substantive work related to people with disabilities, children and youth development.

International Criminal Court

KATRINA COOPER (Australia) said that, from her vantage point on the Security Council, crimes under the Rome Statute were being committed in many locations on an alarming scale.  Those crimes, described in the Statute preamble as “unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity,” had galvanized Australia to do what it could to prevent them.  The Court deserved the unfailing support of every Member, because, when States were unable or unwilling to take action, the Court had a vital role to play.  Its ambitious mandate that year included the Katanga Judgement, which sentenced Germain Katanga to 12 years’ imprisonment.  In its expanded work, the Court had opened a second investigation in the Central African Republic, and the Court Prosecutor had launched a preliminary investigation into alleged crimes committed in Ukraine.  She expected that States would fulfil their obligations to cooperate with the Court, by either being a party to the Statute or adhering to Council resolutions.  She called on all States to support the Court in its efforts.

PENELOPE RIDINGS (New Zealand) said that 2015 would see the swearing in of six new Court judges.  She trusted that they would draw upon their experience to enrich the Court’s jurisprudence and build upon the work of their predecessors.  In view of the increasing workload of all organs of the Court, she welcomed recent efforts to analyse and improve existing procedures and approaches, including by both the Registrar and the Prosecutor.  Concerning the relationship between the Court and the Council, she welcomed dialogue on when and under what circumstances the Council should refer a situation to the Court.  Importantly, when a situation was referred, the Council should do so with a clear commitment to follow up and ensure the Court received the cooperation it needed to discharge its statutory mandate.

ZSOLT HETESY (Hungary) noted the crucial link between peace and security on one hand and criminal accountability on the other.  The most important objective of the Rome Statute was to make countries resilient against crimes of atrocity.  He commended the latest reforms in the Court, and noted that the efforts to strengthen the Office of the Prosecutor were successful.  But the Rome Statute was also about the joint will of States Parties to make sure through national action that crimes of atrocity did not happen, and, if they did, perpetrators would be prosecuted at the national level.  The International Criminal Court should be the Court of last resort.  Further cooperation among States, regional organizations and civil society was also important.  The Court was not immune from political disagreements, but States Parties had the responsibility to sort out differences and to find solutions that reinforced the Court’s authority. He welcomed the consensus of the African States to present Sidiki Kaba of Senegal as the next President of the Assembly of States Parties.  Hungary had also decided to nominate Peter Kovacs for the election of Judges to the Court, for the period 2015-2024.

SIMONA MIRELA MICULESCU (Romania) said the report showed the increasing workload of the Court, with 21 cases in eight situations at different stages of proceeding.  The path to the universality of the Rome Statute continued to be a lengthy and difficult one, and she encouraged all States to become parties to it.  The fundamental challenge before the Court was the need to ensure full and prompt cooperation with it, and to react to instances of States’ failure to cooperate.  Non-cooperation in the execution of arrest warrants was a violation and undermined the Court’s capacity to deliver justice.  The adoption of adequate national legislation remained critical in helping the Court fulfil its mandate.  States had the responsibility to investigate, prosecute and bring to justice perpetrators of serious crimes.  She asked Member States to look for ways to establish a mechanism to address issues arising from referrals to the Court by the Council, and to address other follow-up measures with the Court.

IDREES MOHAMMED ALI MOHAMMED SAEED (Sudan) said that attempts to politicize international justice were incompatible with the international community’s efforts to achieve justice and uphold the principles of the Charter.  While the report of the Court was deliberated, great concern was caused by some States Parties’ attempts to make the United Nations General Assembly a General Assembly for the State Parties of the Rome Statute.  His delegation has always reiterated its refusal of that direction, and expressed it every year during the presentation of that report.  His Government would always call for restricting relations between the Court and the United Nations.   

The Court had become a tool in international conflicts and political action by focusing on Africa and targeting its leaders, he said.  That made African public opinion describe the body as a court under the control of developed nations to target developing nations.  Why was the Court ignoring atrocities in some areas?  Wasn’t an international court concerned with impunity in every place? His Government had posed those questions and never received convincing answers.  The Court had one jurisdiction, which was targeting Africans and African nations and nothing else.  Relations between the Court and the Council showed how the Council was politicized.  It was the same organ that referred some to the Court and exempted others.  It was a relationship that stood witness to the lack of objectivity in the relationship and in the practice of the mandate.  As Sudan was not a party to the Rome Statute, it had no obligations to the Court.

EDUARDO JOSÉ DE VEGA (The Philippines) said that international relations should be based on rules rather than power.  In 2009, the Philippine Congress had enacted the Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes against Humanity, paving the way for ratification of the Rome Statute.  Consistent with the principle of complementarity, the Philippines strove to ensure that its criminal justice system was transparent, fair, effective and relatively speedy, allowing for the prosecution of crimes contemplated by the Rome Statute.  At the global level, the Philippines continued to work constructively with all States Parties to protect human rights and build domestic capacity.  It was also important for the international community to ensure that the rule of law and human rights were strongly reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.   

FERNANDO CARRERA CASTRO (Guatemala) reaffirmed his unwavering support for the Court.  As there continued to be a number of myths and misunderstandings about the Court, the Assembly’s debate was an opportunity to create a better understanding of the Court’s mandate.  The Court depended on support from international organizations, such as the United Nations. He noted, with concern, that some States Parties were not honouring their obligations to apprehend individuals for whom arrest warrants had been issued.  Members must not allow those arrest warrants to go unserved.  He appealed for unconditional respect for the Court and its warrants.  It was also important for States to renew their financial commitment to the Court, he said, calling attention to the cost of the Council’s referrals to the Court that were borne by States.  The Council should not take a stance on the financing of the referrals.  Doing so would encroach upon the competence of the Assembly, which was responsible for decisions on financing.  The time had come to resolve the matter.  He would be putting forth a resolution to resolve it.  He urged Members to continue to support the Rome Statute and put to rest the erroneous assumption that the Court was a court for only one region.  

MAX ALBERTO DIENER SALA (Mexico) regretted that the period covered by the report was the first in which no State had become a party to the Rome Statute.  Although there were already 122 States Parties to the instrument, Members must not lose sight of the objective of universal ratification.  The ad hoc acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction by the Court of Ukraine, a State that was not party to the Statute, and the second referral of the Central African Republic to the Court last June, were evidence of the increasing trust both State Parties and non-Parties placed in the Court.  But Members needed to join efforts to overcome the challenges that the Court continued to face. Warrants of arrest for 12 persons were still pending execution, evidence of lack of cooperation of certain States.  He emphasized that the Council could effectively follow up on those referrals, including through the creation of a mechanism.  Due to the increase in cases under consideration, he underlined the need for referrals by the Council to be financed through funds provided by the Assembly, as set forth in article 115 of the Statute.

BORUT MAHNIČ (Slovenia) said the annual report confirmed that the Court had developed into a strong institution.  As the report stressed, the Rome Statute had never been intended to replace national courts.  Improving domestic capacity and inter-State cooperation was, therefore, of paramount importance.  The Court’s mandate was extremely challenging and the complexities of its work required close and effective cooperation from States, and international and regional actors.  Slovenia fully supported the ongoing discussions aimed at strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and the Court.  He called upon all States that were not members of the Court to join it, which would contribute to greater coordination between the two institutions.  

JANUSZ STAŃCZYK (Poland) said that, by allowing individuals to escape liability, State Parties were flouting the very laws put in place to ensure the Court’s effectiveness.  Arrest warrants must be honoured in order to deter future genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  When the Council decided to refer a situation to the Court, it must also enforce cooperation on the part of the States concerned — should they fail to fulfil the Court’s mandate.  Turning to the crisis situations taking place around the world, including in Syria and Ukraine, he said the pursuit of international justice and the protection of human rights were synonymous with Poland’s belief that only through global cooperation could the world put an end to impunity.

KAITARO NONOMURA (Japan) noted that the Court had played a remarkable role in ending impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  But the Court alone could not achieve its aims.  Cooperation between the Court and the United Nations was crucial.  Therefore, it was appropriate for the Council to find out what measures should be taken to follow up on cases through dialogue with interested countries.  He commended the work of the Trust Fund for Victims in serving victims of grave crimes.  As a leading supporter of the Court in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan renewed its commitment to continue to encourage friends in that region who had not yet become a party to the Rome Statute.  He expressed Japan’s willingness to help them develop their legal systems and human resources.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that an aspect of the Rome Statute, designed to allow the Council to use the Court as a tool for bringing justice beyond the family of States Parties, did not work as well as some would have liked.  His Government had, with 73 other States, co-sponsored a draft Council resolution that would have referred the situation in Syria to the Court.  But the double veto cast by the Russian Federation and China had ensured that impunity continued to be the order of the day in Syria.  The ability of the Court to provide justice for victims of the most serious crimes under international law was limited by the political will of the Council to see justice served. 

On another topic on the Criminal Court’s agenda, he said that Sudan’s “wholesale lack of cooperation” with the Court was a blot on the effectiveness of the Council.  Full cooperation with the Court was not optional, nor was it merely commendable; it was mandatory.  In conclusion, he turned to the Kampala Amendments on the Crime of Aggression, which would make the most serious forms of the illegal use of force by one State against another a punishable offence before the Court.  There was confidence that the 30 necessary ratifications would be reached well in time to allow for their activation in 2017, the earliest moment to do so.

THEMBILE ELPHUS JOYINI (South Africa) said that an important tool in the fight against impunity remained efforts to build national capacity to investigate and prosecute serious crimes of concern to the international community.  Therefore, complementarity was at the heart of the Statute.   South Africa and Denmark had tried their best to mainstream complementarity-related activities while they served as co-focal points on the issue.   The Statute and the Court did not operate in a vacuum.  They constituted an important element in a new system of international law.  In 1946, the Nuremburg Tribunal recognized that only through fighting impunity could the provisions of international law be enforced and peace attained.  The relationship between peace and justice was therefore ubiquitous in the development of modern international law, and was evident to the drafters of the Statute.  Peace and security on one hand, and justice and the fight against impunity on the other, must go hand in hand.

MOHAMED SALAH EDDINE BELAID (Algeria) reiterated his country’s unflinching commitment to promote human rights and democracy, uphold the rule of law and good governance and to fight impunity and grant access to justice.  While there was a need for the international community to ensure prosecution of individuals suspected of having committed serious crimes, it was sovereign States that had the primary role in pursuing that objective.  The primacy of national jurisdiction had not been unduly applied for some cases that had been referred to the Court by the Council or the Office of the Prosecutor.  He was not astonished to see many Member States questioning the impartiality of the Court, and the criteria that had been used in Court referrals.  He recalled the politicization and misuse of indictments by the Court in targeting African States and African leaders.  As noted by African Heads of State, unacceptable situations in other parts of the world had been ignored.  Algeria and the whole African continent were deeply disappointed about the negative response to the legally sound proposal of the African Union to defer the proceedings initiated against two African presidents and deputy presidents in accordance with article 16 of the Rome Statute, which concerned the deferral of cases.

VALENTIN ZELLWEGER (Switzerland) said the Court was increasingly perceived as a key actor in preventing and dealing with the most serious crimes.  However, such crimes were often committed outside its territorial jurisdiction, and the Court’s inability to act was a stark reminder of the need to promote the universality of its Statute.  Concerning the relationship between the Court and the Council, his delegation would continue to work towards a more consistent follow-up to Council action related to the Court by promoting the creation of a subsidiary body, solid reactions in case of non-cooperation and the mainstreaming of justice considerations in relevant mandates of the Council.  The effectiveness of the Court continued to be a concern.  To improve it, the Court should adopt effective practices, States Parties should have a more strategic oversight of the Court to limit the administrative burden, and civil society should support the Court through training and seminars.

ÁLVARO CERIANI (Uruguay) said that his country, after ratifying the Rome Statute, was the first in Latin America to implement it in law.  His was also the first Latin American country to have deposited its instrument of ratification to the Kampala Amendments, and encouraged all others to do likewise, so the amendments could enter into force as soon as possible.  It was understood that it would be advisable for the Permanent Members of the Council to consider abstaining from using the veto in cases of genocide or crimes against humanity.  There had to be further cooperation between the Council and the Court. 

MANUEL DE JESUS PIREZ PEREZ (Cuba) expressed his Government’s commitment to combat impunity for international crimes.  Based on article 16 of the Rome Statute and the broad powers granted to the Council, the Court was not necessarily an independent institution.  Referrals to the Court confirmed the negative trends that other countries had mentioned.  International law was constantly violated, and Cuba reiterated the need to establish a truly independent, international criminal tribunal.  The Court continued to remain subjected to the anti-democratic decisions of the Council that violated international law, and continued to grant total impunity to those who truly had committed international crimes. The Court could not be unaware of international treaties, and must respect the right of a State to consent to be bound by a treaty.  Cuba reiterated its serious concerns with the Court’s decision to carry out proceedings against States that were not parties to the Statute.  Cuba had been the victim of many forms of aggression for 50 years, yet the definition of the crime of aggression at Kampala had failed to take that into consideration.  The Court must report on its activities to the Assembly, and although Cuba was not a party to the Court, it was prepared to continue to participate actively in the negotiation process with that institution.

IBRAHIM O. A. DABBASHI (Libya) said the Council had referred crimes in Libya to the Court, and that, despite the fact that Libya was not a State Party to the Rome Statute, his Government would like to achieve complementarity between Libya and the Court.  He gave details of cases in which the Court and the Libyan judicial authorities had cooperated, and expressed hope that the Court would soon recognize Libyan jurisdiction in trying Saif al-Gadhafi, as it had done regarding the trial of Al-Senussi.  Despite Libya’s support for the Court, he further expressed hope that it would be very careful considering cases of high-ranking officials.  To achieve justice, it was not enough to just apply the law.  The special political situation of a country, and the reaction to the court verdict should be considered — especially if it would provoke the national feelings of the people.  His Government hoped for further cooperation by Member States to help legal authorities prosecute crimes committed in Libya and hand them to judicial authorities, and to trace the funds of persons whose money had been frozen by Council resolutions.

CAROL HAMILTON (United States) said that strengthening the accountability for those responsible for atrocities must remain a priority.  Ending impunity and the promotion of justice were stabilizing forces of international affairs.  She supported the approach of positive complementarity.  It was important to perform local work to enforce accountability, and prosecute those responsible for crimes on a national level.  At the same time, more work had to be done to strengthen accountability mechanisms at the international level.  Although the United States was not party to the Rome Statute, she recognized that the Court could play a role in a multinational situation.  The United States collaborated with the Court to advance mutual goals on a case-by-case basis and consistent with United States laws.  The United States had supported the opening of a new investigation into activities in the Central African Republic, and it had offered rewards for the arrest of those who had evaded capture — among them Sylvestre Muducumura and Joseph Kony.  The United States and other Council members had recently voted to refer the situation in Syria to the Office of the Prosecutor, and, although it had been blocked, her Government remained committed to referring it.  The international community had made progress, but much work still remained.  Success relied on the ability of Member States to work together.

FERNANDA MILLICAY (Argentina) noted that the Statute had 122 States Parties, with 21 having ratified the Kampala amendments, including one on the crime of aggression.  While a few delegations firmly opposed including a substantial reference to the crime of aggression in the relevant Assembly resolution, Argentina would continue to work towards reaching 30 ratifications before 2017, in order to activate the jurisdiction of the Court, as agreed in Kampala.  On the question of referrals to the Court by the Council, she said that the Court had jurisdiction over nationals of both Parties and non-Parties in those cases.  No pronouncement of the Council had the power to amend the Statute with the aim of granting immunity to nationals of non-Parties.  Argentina and many other Member States had objected to the practice of referral costs being defrayed exclusively by States Parties, as the Statute stipulated that such financial responsibility rested with the United Nations.  It was not acceptable that the Assembly be put in a position of not being able to make a decision on that issue.  

MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ (Colombia) said that Colombia had a historic commitment to the Court.  Colombia was the first country in the Latin American and Caribbean region to ratify the Agreement on the privileges and immunities of the Court.  Colombia would join the Assembly of States Parties of the Court that coming December, and saw it as a wonderful opportunity to continue its support of the Court.  The Rome Statute was a valuable tool for the international community to tackle serious situations, and he invited States to become parties to the Statute and to ratify it.  He supported the initiatives to unite efforts between the Court and the United Nations, and to find ways to achieve their objectives together.  The principle of complementarity was the backbone of criminal justice.  Within the framework of strengthening national capacities to investigate crimes, Colombia had codified that principle in its conduct, and had taken the necessary actions for prosecutions.  He urged Members to work towards a concept of justice, and to recognize the causes and problems of criminal acts, because pursuing justice would always have to be in the context of peace.

IBRAHIMA SORY SYLLA (Senegal) said that the interaction between the Court, the Assembly and the Council could contribute towards maintaining international peace and security.  His Government supported the establishment of a formal framework between the Council and the Office of the Prosecutor — an interaction which could focus on specifics or on thematic issues.  His Government also supported annually inviting the Court’s President and Prosecutor to report to the Council.  As a guarantor of international peace and security, the Council had to act responsibly, without politicization, when it considered situations related to mass crimes, to avoid being suspected of selectivity and double standards.  That created tensions which might impede the Court’s efficiency.  He invited all stakeholders to take the opportunity of the gathering of the Assembly of States Parties to elect Sidiki Kaba, Minister of Justice of Senegal, as its next head.

EVGENY T. ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) said his Government was keen on continuing its cooperation with the Court.  The Court’s ability to discharge its functions was one of the decisive factors that States took into account.  He called on the Court to address those concerns that had arisen among African countries, and to find mutually acceptable solutions.  On a number of matters the Court was forced to work on conflict situations.  But various measures were necessary to bring about peace.  The activities of the Court must incorporate general efforts for crisis settlement.  The Court must investigate all crimes.

GUILHERME DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said two thirds of Member States had ratified the Rome Statute, yet still it was not universal.  Considering that October marked the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Relationship Agreement between the United Nations and the Court, he recalled Brazil’s concern about issues of structural nature.  Cooperation between the Court and the United Nations should go beyond rhetoric, and find its concrete implementation in the funding of Council referral’s to the Court.  Further, he welcomed the decision of the Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties to endorse the consensual African candidature for the presidency. Coming from the region with the largest number of States Parties to the Rome Statute, the Minister of Justice of Senegal, Sidiki Kaba, would lead efforts towards the increasing challenges faced. 

JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA-GARCÍA (Costa Rica) reiterated his absolute support for the Court.  History had demonstrated there was no lasting peace without justice.  The world needed to be certain that there was no State where there was room for impunity.  He was disappointed that during the reporting period, no more new States had become parties to the Court.  Reaffirming the importance of the universality of the Court, he said it was a court of last resort, and was not created to replace national tribunals.  States Parties must comply with its Statute.  It was serious when non-compliance led to the rejection of arrest warrants, of which there were 13 pending, some from 2005.  Some States had argued that there was politicization in the Court, but that did not hold up to argument because the Court operated on the principles of due process.  Because of tight budgets, the Court’s work could be threatened.  Its tasks had increased and its budget had been reduced.  Cooperation between the Court and the United Nations had led to positive development and achievements, but he reiterated the need for the financing of referrals to the Court by the United Nations.  He would not support any amendment that would impede the Court from prosecuting crimes of impunity.

KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia) said the Court should be built on justice.  It was one of the principle organs tasked with helping States ensure that durable peace was built on justice.  The Court was misperceived sometimes, when it chose to prosecute some crimes on its own and left appeals to prosecute others unanswered.  The Court’s work should be effectuated by helping national capacities handle situations that could otherwise fall within the Court’s jurisdiction.  He called on all parties that had not done so to become parties to the Rome Statute.  He invited his colleagues to direct their efforts towards promoting positive complementarity, which would conserve the Court’s financial resources and reduce the need for additional allocations from national budgets.  As a consequence of a foreign military occupation, Georgia was under preliminary investigation by the Court.  His Government remained fully committed to cooperating with the Court, and addressing the occupation.  The Court did need some rejuvenation to respond to the challenges of today and tomorrow, and, in that spirit, he had nominated Judge Mindia Ugrekhelidze of Georgia to fill a judicial vacancy on the Court.

JOSÉ MARTÍN Y PÉREZ DE NANCLARES (Spain) said that Spain had ratified the Kampala Amendments earlier in 2014.  It was essential for the United Nations and regional organizations to assist States in strengthening their national capacities to achieve goals at the domestic level.  Cooperation between the Court and Latin American countries had increased, and those efforts must be maintained in the future.  His Government promoted the universality and integrity of the Rome Statute in its bilateral relations, in line with the common position of the European Union.  During Spain’s upcoming two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Council, the work of the Court would be supported, as the country had always done, in a responsible way and with great commitment.

MARGUS KOLGA (Estonia) said it was time for a new phase in the relationship between the Assembly and the Court, one in which cooperation and assistance were not provided solely on a reimbursable basis.  Estonia encouraged all United Nations actors to systematize their cooperation with the Office of Legal Affairs.  The relationship between the Court and the Council also should be strengthened.  Estonia encouraged the Council to mandate peacekeeping missions to arrest fugitives wanted by the Court.  It called on all Member States to help end impunity by working together to execute pending arrest warrants.  The Court was never intended to, and could never, replace national courts.  Estonia welcomed the Organization’s efforts to strengthen countries’ domestic capacity to address Rome Statute crimes.  It had allocated development cooperation resources to help strengthen national judicial capacity and urged other Member States to do the same.  Estonia was committed to the Court and pledged to defend its independent mandate and the election of the most qualified judges.

KINTU NYAGO (Uganda) said his country domesticated the Statute and established, in the nation’s High Court, a division seized with cases of war crimes, which would otherwise be handled by the International Criminal Court.  The division was currently on the case involving Thomas Kwoyelo, a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander accused of crimes under the Statute.  Uganda was the first country to make a State referral to the Court, leading to the indictment of Joseph Kony and others.  Unfortunately, those individuals were still at large and continued to cause untold suffering wherever they operated.  The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) was pursuing them in the Central African Republic under the auspices of the African Union-Regional Task Force.  But the operation proved costly to troop-contributing countries and needed more support.  Rejecting a view that his Government was soft on UPDF members alleged to have committed crimes in the course of pursing the LRA, he said that allegations were routinely investigated and any errant individuals were put to public trials.

MILORAD ŠĆEPANOVIĆ (Montenegro), aligned with the statement delivered by the European Union delegation, and said the international community should not leave any room for political calculations when considering the Rome Statute’s ratification.  That would seriously harm people and their fundamental human rights.  The increase in cases of genocide and conflicts meant greater attention had to be paid to improving international mechanisms to fight impunity.  While strengthening the Court’s role as the most important mechanism, it was necessary to deliver preventative tools, such as the Responsibility to Protect concept and the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.  Montenegro reaffirmed its commitment to the Statute’s principles, the Court’s work and efforts aimed at universal jurisdiction of the Court.  It strongly supported the rule of law at the international level and its implementation through mechanisms established by the United Nations.  Yet without a strong rule of law at the national level, efforts to strengthen its use internationally would be restricted significantly.  Montenegro continued to reform its own criminal code, for example, by incorporating the main international crimes prescribed in articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Statute into its domestic criminal code.

VASILIKI KRASA (Cyprus) expressed pride that her country currently served as a co-focal point within the Assembly of States Parties for promoting the action plan for the universality and full implementation of the Rome Statute.  The further strengthening of the relationship between the Court and the United Nations was supported, and her delegation highlighted the importance of efforts by the United Nations in strengthening the capacity of its membership to address Rome Statute crimes.  For the last 12 years, the Court had been tangibly contributing to the advancement of international justice.

Right of Reply

The representative of Syria, in exercise of the right of reply, emphasized that the major responsibility for the administration of justice lay with the concerned countries themselves.  The Court complemented national court systems.  It did not replace them and it could not be resorted to except under certain conditions, which did not exist in the case of Syria.  The Syrian people were the only ones capable of choosing the justice system for trying their own people; no party or State had the right to speak on behalf of the Syrian people.  Justice must be comprehensive and not politicized or subjected to double standards.  The noble concept of justice should not be used and abused according to the whims of influential parties and their allies.

A permanent Council member was talking about so-called impartiality.  Partiality did exist today and had been used to adopt a very arbitrary policy, in which countries turned a blind eye to crimes and atrocities committed in other countries — such as the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation over many decades.  Some countries had ignored the fact that the leaders of the Israeli forces had been given immunity, and those countries had prevented the adoption of a resolution against Israel to hold it responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against Arabs under occupation.  He said he had not forgotten the painful events that occurred in Rwanda and when the former Force Commander of the peacekeeping operation in that country said that some Heads of States had committed war crimes.  The people of his region would not forget the atrocities committed against Iraq, he said.  The photos of Abu Ghraib of the acts of beheading, terrorism and rape would be available forever.  Behind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s caliphate there were Governments that “cloned” Mr. al-Baghdadi every day.  To the countries that allegedly cared for Syria and the Syrian people, he said the only way to help Syria was through very clear efforts to counter terrorism, and support a peaceful resolution of the conflict and the efforts toward that end of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria.

The representative of Turkey said that baseless accusations would be addressed in due course.

Sport for Development and Peace: Action on Draft Resolution

MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia), introducing the draft resolution entitled “Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace” (document A/69/L.5), pointed to athletes that had become ambassadors of their countries, defending peace, friendship and just competition.  Sport was also a means to support social integration and human development.  There was a close link between sports on one hand, and human rights and development on the other.  The earlier debate of the Assembly on the topic had showed consensus about sport as a means to promote human development.  On behalf of Tunisia, Monaco and all the co-sponsors, he said that the draft reiterated the commitment of the international community to use sport as a tool for cooperation without discrimination, and to further promote understanding, diversity and human rights.

The Assembly then adopted the text by consensus.

The representative of Armenia, speaking in explanation of vote, said that while the resolution was important, sports should be kept out of politics, and racism and xenophobia in sports should be condemned.  His Government expressed concern with regard to a certain event to be held the following year, namely the 2015 European Games, and thereunder the safety and security of all athletes, fair conditions of participation, as well as the guaranteed integrity of that sporting event.

For information media. Not an official record.