Delivered by the Legal Advisor from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Dr. Penelope Ridings.
I am pleased to convey my greetings to all those taking part in this Pacific Region workshop on the universality of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Kampala Amendments on the Crime of Aggression. I thank the Government of New Zealand, the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression for organizing this event.
I was honoured to participate in the Kampala Review Conference and to witness the historic moment when States Parties reached consensus on the definition of the crime of aggression. The United Nations Charter prohibits the threat or the use of force. Aggression has rightly been described by the General Assembly as “the most serious and dangerous form of the illegal use of force”. The International Criminal Court’s ability to exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression will help end impunity for perpetrators of the most serious violations.
Nearly twelve years since the adoption of the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court is moving ever closer to universality with a membership of 122 States. I commend the Government of New Zealand for its commitment to fighting impunity. I encourage all States in the Pacific Region to ratify or accede to the Rome Statute and its amendments.
As depositary of the Rome Statute, I have received the ratification instruments on the amendment on the crime of aggression from 13 States Parties. I look forward to welcoming more States, including New Zealand and other States Parties from the Pacific Region.
I understand that the Pacific Outreach Roundtable on the ICC has encouraged all Pacific Island Countries to become States Parties to the Rome Statute and has called upon the region to consider acceding to the Statute and to the Kampala amendments. I am gratified that the New Zealand Parliament supported a motion for the country to become one of the founding 30 ratifying countries needed to implement the amendment on Aggression. The Treaty Section of the United Nations’ Office of Legal Affairs stands ready to provide practical guidance to all Member States.
The pursuit of justice goes hand in hand with the Organization’s mission to advance peace, security, development and human rights around the world. Please rest assured that you can continue to count on the full support of the United Nations. Thank you for your participation in this workshop. I wish you a successful event.