8 APRIL 2021

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The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thanks, Steph.  Two questions for you today.  First one on UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East).  The US has resumed funding, and it was received positively by administrators there.  But the West Bank administrators said that settler violence has never been higher in the West Bank and that we’re up 30 per cent on demolitions and displacements year over year.  Why is this?  And what does the Secretary-General make of it?

Spokesman:  I mean, I’m not here to answer the “why”.  I think you should ask those who are responsible for that.

We will, as usual, report back monthly to the Security Council through our Special Coordinator.  We have always and will continue to express our concern and our opposition to violence, as well as to the demolitions.

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  Today, Israel issued a statement… an official statement saying they will not cooperate with the ICC (International Criminal Court) and its ongoing investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity, committed in the war on Gaza in 2014.  Do you have any comment on that?

Spokesman:  No.  I mean, our… as you know, the ICC is independent from us.  I have no specific comment on that.

We, for our part, will continue to regularly report back what we observe in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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Question:  Yeah, just returning to Abdelhamid’s question about Israel’s statement on the ICC, the Israel statement says that the ICC does not have any authority in this case.  I know that the ICC is separate from the UN, but the UN is supportive of the ICC.  And the ICC examined this issue at great length and decided it did have jurisdiction.

Does the Secretary-General back the ICC in the work it’s doing anywhere it wants to work in the world and for it to decide its jurisdiction?  Does he agree with that?

Spokesman:  Well, the… yes, the Secretariat of the UN and the ICC are separate.  The Secretary-General, as a matter of principle, has expressed his support for the ICC and the important work that it does.

As to the debate of where its jurisdiction is or is not, that is something that Member States have to decide, and he will not weigh in.

Question:  But Member States of the ICC… Member States, the States Parties, have given that authority to the ICC, and they’ve made a decision that they have jurisdiction.  [cross talk]

Spokesman:  No, I understand, but that is an issue for Member States to decide.

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For information media. Not an official record.