Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen on behalf of 74 States Parties to the Rome Statute in support of the International Criminal Court on the occasion of the ICC Report to the General Assembly, November 2, 2020

03.11.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the following 74 States Parties to the Rome Statute: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, State of Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

As States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, we reconfirm our unwavering support for the Court as an independent and impartial judicial Institution.

This year, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. At the time when the United Nations were created, the seeds of international criminal justice that later led to the creation of the International Criminal Court were planted. Member States of the United Nations worked hard to establish a permanent international institution to punish the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern. The Rome Statute embodies the conviction that such crimes must not go unpunished.

We are adamantly committed to the international rules-based order established 75 years ago, and reinforced since then.

The ICC, as the world’s first and only permanent international criminal court, is an integral part of the multilateral architecture upholding the rule-of-law. It is a central institution in the fight against impunity and the pursuit of justice, which are essential components of sustainable peace, security and reconciliation.

We will continue to respect our cooperation obligations under the Rome Statute and encourage all States to fully support the Court for it to carry out its important mandate of ensuring justice for the victims of the most serious crimes under international law. We recall that the ICC is a court of last resort, which anchors a system of justice for serious international crimes rooted in national courts. National authorities have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute Rome Statute crimes. The ICC only steps in when States are unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out national proceedings.

Following the statements of the President of the Assembly of States Parties, issued on 11 June and 2 September 2020, we reiterate our commitment to uphold and defend the principles and values enshrined in the Rome Statute and to preserve its integrity and independence undeterred by any measures or threats against the Court, its officials and those cooperating with it. We note that sanctions are a tool to be used against those responsible for the most serious crimes, not against those seeking justice. Any attempt to undermine the independence of the Court should not be tolerated.

The International Criminal Court embodies our collective commitment to fight impunity for the most serious crimes under international law. By giving our full support to the Court and promoting its universal membership, we defend the progress we have made together towards an international rules-based order, of which international justice is an indispensable pillar.

Top of page