I thank the Permanent Mission of Italy for hosting this important event.
Today we are marking two milestones. First, this is of course International Criminal Justice Day.
And second, we celebrate ten years of our Relationship Agreement with the International Criminal Court.
This is a day for all of us to underscore a crucial point: justice matters.
Accountability for serious crimes of international concern is central to our global commitment to peace, security human rights and fundamental freedoms.
So let me begin by once again calling for universal ratification of the Rome Statute.
I also encourage all Member States who are parties to the Rome Statute to do their part to strengthen the International Criminal Court.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The drafters of the Rome Statute always envisaged a vital role for the United Nations in support of the Court and its work.
The Relationship Agreement between the United Nations and the Court is founded in a shared belief that the cause of peace can only be served if those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern are prosecuted and brought to justice.
The world’s commitment to the success of this Court is reflected in the fact that that the Relationship Agreement was approved by the General Assembly without opposition.
The objectives of the Court and the United Nations are clearly aligned.
The Relationship Agreement established a solid foundation for mutual cooperation.
It has served as the basis for a host of supplementary agreements that cover the full range of our common efforts to bring perpetrators of international crimes to justice.
These include detailed arrangements on a number of issues – from the sharing of evidence to the use of modern information technology to facilitating interviews with our officials and experts.
Perhaps most notable are the cooperation agreements with our peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and, soon, Mali.
These agreements allow for the Court to operate more efficiently, in part, because it can rely on the Organization for information and logistical support.
Indeed, one of our child protection officers, Ms. Kristine Peduto, was the first person to testify before the Court in its first trial, that of the warlord, Thomas Lubanga.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Court is the centerpiece of our system of international criminal justice but it is a court of last resort.
We at the United Nations are proud to remain deeply involved in assisting Member States to better address impunity at the national level.
Allow me to commend the Court, and specifically its Prosecutor, for her invaluable work with the States Parties to the Rome Statute.
They have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute the serious crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
I am confident that the relationship between the United Nations and the International Criminal Court will continue to strengthen and grow – through the Office of Legal Affairs and my Legal Counsel, who serve as focal point for cooperation.
The Court will always find in the United Nations a committed partner, a staunch ally and a firm friend.
We look forward to our ongoing close cooperation in the years ahead.