Kampala, Uganda

31 May 2010

Secretary-General's remarks to the media at ICC Review Conference - includes statement on Gaza

Ambassador Wenaweser,

Judge Song,

Representatives of the national and international media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank Ambassador Wenaweser and President Song for their tireless efforts in preparing this landmark event, and for their commitment to international criminal justice. It has been a pleasure and an honour to work with them.

As I said in my speech to the conference, the old era of impunity is over. In its place, slowly but surely, we are witnessing the birth of a new age of accountability.

The establishment of the International Criminal Court struck a resounding blow for peace, justice and human rights.

At this conference, we hope to take stock of the Court's progress and strengthen it for the future.

We want to send a message: that atrocities and heinous crimes cannot go unpunished.

And we want to bolster the Court's deterrent effect –and make potential perpetrators think twice before they act.

I urge all States to cooperate with the Court, and I encourage those States that have not yet done so to ratify the Rome Statute. For the ICC to have the reach it should possess, it must have universal support. Otherwise, we simply embolden those who would commit terrible crimes and those who might want to see the Court fail.

The United Nations played an essential role in bringing the ICC into existence. We have stood with the Court ever since, advocating for it and cooperating with it. It has become the centrepiece of our system of international criminal justice. Kampala is an opportunity to advance the cause further still.

In view of the seriousness of the situation which happened this morning, I would like with the understanding of the President of the ICC and the President of this Conference, if I make a statement on that situation.

I am shocked by reports of killings and injuries of people on the boats carrying supplies for Gaza, apparently in international waters, in the early hours of this morning. I condemn this violence. We do not yet know the full facts yet. More than ten people appeared to have been killed and many more wounded. It is vital that there is a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place. I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation. I have instructed my Special Coordinator, Robert Serry, and UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi, to actively engage on the ground in urging restraint and ensuring that no further harm is done and coordinating with all relevant parties.