8 May 2015
Sixty-ninth Session, 89th Meeting (AM)

Delegates Call Cooperation ‘Hallmark’ of World Court, as General Assembly Adopts Text Urging Bolstered Action to End Impunity

Body Also Passes Resolution on Forthcoming International Conference on Financing for Development

The General Assembly adopted two resolutions by consensus today, reaffirming by the first text the United Nations’ cooperation with the International Criminal Court, and by the second, defining the organizational contours of the third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in July in Addis Ababa.

By the text on the report of the International Criminal Court, the Assembly underlined that States need to adopt legal measures for crimes for which they were required to exercise their responsibility to investigate and prosecute.  Encouraging the United Nations and others to help States, upon request, to strengthen their domestic capacity to carry out such work, it also called on those States obliged to cooperate with the Court to do so, particularly concerning arrests, the provision of evidence, protection and relocation of victims and witnesses and sentence enforcement.

Recalling article 3 of the Relationship Agreement between the United Nations and the Court, which recognized that both parties would closely cooperate on matters of mutual interest, the Assembly, by the text, requested the Secretary-General to include information on its implementation in a report to be submitted to the body at its seventieth session.

Introducing the text, the representative of the Netherlands said universal accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court remained crucial in efforts to end impunity for the most atrocious crimes.  Cooperation with the Court’s decisions was essential in enforcing arrests and gathering evidence.  Without such cooperation, the Court would not be able to fulfil its mandate and impunity would continue, he said, emphasizing that the hallmark of the Court was complementarity.  As national authorities were responsible for genuinely addressing crimes, if they did so, the Court would not have to act and justice systems would thus be strengthened, he said.  In that regard, he said that the text affirmed the relationship between the Court and the United Nations, reminding States of the need for cooperation.

After its adoption, speakers took the floor, with some decrying the politicization of international justice.  Kenya’s delegate called the Court “a teenager”, saying that guidance by States was critical to strengthening the international justice system.  The resolution had to be “unpacked” to reflect on-the-ground realities and the Court’s working environment.  In addition, the Rome Statute must be implemented in a manner consistent with its ideals and equally among Member States, he said.  Sudan’s delegate rejected the Court, saying that his delegation did not recognize the resolution.  Creating a platform to achieve narrow targets was not in line with international efforts to achieve justice, he said, adding that the Court concentrated its work mainly on Africa, targeting its leaders and persecuted developing countries.

Some speakers, while supporting the text, raised a number of concerns.  The representative of South Africa, in a general statement on behalf of a group of States parties, welcomed the consensual action, but expressed disappointment over the draft, stressing the need to enhance cooperation between the United Nations and the Court.  He encouraged the Organization’s offices, funds and programmes to collaborate effectively with the Office of Legal Affairs as a focal point in that regard.  The Secretary-General’s guidelines on contact with persons who were subjects of arrest warrants or summonses were a step in the right direction, he said.  The Assembly should ensure the implementation of articles of the Relationship Agreement on the provision of adequate financial resources and the Security Council must use its referral power in a consistent and coherent manner and provide follow-up support by adding indictees to sanctions lists, where they existed.  In addition, witnesses must be protected and justice delivered to victims.

Citing a lack of transparent and inclusive negotiations on the text, Brazil’s speaker said he joined the consensus with hopes that through “expansive and transparent dialogue” a better draft would emerge.  He welcomed the accession of Palestine to the Rome Statute and said others should welcome any accession in the interest of universality, adding that “international justice should apply to all”.  He regretted to say that the text had not directly addressed financial support for the Court.  Agreeing, Argentina’s representative also expressed concern about situations referred by the Security Council.  The minority objection to the necessary support could lead others to seek better avenues to further the goal of the end of impunity, he said.  Side-stepping negotiations known to be complex in order to reach a speedy outcome should not be repeated, said Uruguay’s delegate, pointing out that today’s action on the text did not set a precedent for adopting the work of the Court.

Costa Rica’s speaker cited themes not included in the text, such as the referral of criminal cases by the Security Council, calling for a uniformed protocol for that process.  She also urged the Council’s permanent members to subscribe to a code of conduct to abstain from veto use in certain cases and to avoid exemptions, which would diminish the Court’s credibility.  Expressing regret that the text did not reflect commitments between the United Nations and the Court, nor the needs of international criminal justice, she hoped for more fruitful discussions in the future.

By the Assembly’s resolution on further modalities for the third International Conference on Financing for Development, the body decided that the Conference — to be held from 13 to 16 July — would consist of eight plenary meetings.  In addition, six round tables would be organized around two main themes:  “Global partnership and the three dimensions of sustainable development” and “Ensuring policy coherence and an enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development”.  Each round table would be open to representatives of participating States, observers, United Nations entities and other intergovernmental groups, civil society and the private sector.

Also this morning, the Assembly appointed members of the Joint Inspection Unit to fill vacancies arising from the terms of office expiring on 31 December 2015 of Gérard Biraud (France), István Posta (Hungary), Papa Louis Fall (Senegal) and Cihan Terzi (Turkey).  Jeremiah Kramer (Canada), Gönke Roscher (Germany), Aicha Afifi (Morocco) and Petru Dumitriu (Romania) were appointed for five-year terms of office beginning on 1 January 2016 and expiring on 31 December 2020.

The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.

For information media. Not an official record.