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Seventy-seventh Session,
22nd & 23rd Meetings (AM & PM)

Speakers Urge More Resources for International Criminal Court, Victims’ Trust Fund, as President Briefs General Assembly on Record High Caseload, Ongoing Trials

Delegates Also Appropriate over $130 Million to Operate United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan during 2022

Delegates today commended the work of the International Criminal Court as the body marks 20 years since its inception, with many speakers emphasizing that the mechanism’s expanding workload requires resources and support from Member States in order to fulfil its mandate.

Piotr Hofmański, Court President, presenting the body’s annual report covering the period from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022, said that 2022 has been a “special year” for the Court, with a record number of five cases on trial.  Its three courtrooms “are constantly full of activity”, he said, providing an update on various ongoing trials and cases that are at the victim reparations stage.  In the last 12 months alone, the Prosecutor opened three new investigations into the situations in the Philippines, Venezuela and Ukraine.

In the past 20 years, the Court has opened investigations in 16 countries on four different continents and 31 cases involving 51 suspects or accused have been brought before the body thus far.  He underscored, however, that the primary responsibility of investigating alleged crimes lies with national authorities.  “The ICC has no desire to get involved, if justice is achievable by national jurisdictions,” he added.

The representative of the Netherlands, who introduced the draft resolution titled “Report of the International Criminal Court”, said that the Court has “come of age” investigating situations around the world from the Central African Republic to Ukraine.  The Court’s capabilities must be strengthened at a time when the most fundamental legal norms are being flagrantly violated.  And while States parties have an obligation to cooperate with the Court, voluntary cooperation is also vital for effective functioning, she said.

When the floor was opened for discussion, several delegates spotlighted the Court’s achievements, hailing it as a vital tool in ensuring international justice.  Several called for more voluntary donations to its Trust Fund for Victims, which currently oversees reparations programmes in five countries and has benefited more than 17,000 victims of conflict.

Côte d'Ivoire’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African States parties to the Rome Statute, stressed that all victims, “no matter where they come from”, deserve access to impartial justice. 

Myanmar’s delegate stressed that the people of Myanmar need accountability for crimes committed by the military.  He urged the Security Council to refer the situation in his country to the Court and called on the Court to listen to the voices of Myanmar’s people and hold perpetrators accountable.

Venezuela’s delegate recalled that in February 2020 his country referred to the Court the financial embargo imposed on Venezuela by the United States.  That embargo has prevented Venezuela’s people from accessing food and medicines, he said, urging the Court’s Prosecutor to proceed with the case.

Several delegates, including the representative of Estonia, on behalf of the Baltic States, emphasized the need to investigate crimes committed in Ukraine and bring perpetrators to justice.  

Ukraine’s delegate said he firmly believes the Court will be able to create a historical precedent of a legal response to the crimes committed by the Russian Federation.  He noted the previous declarations his Government filed with the Court in 2014 and 2015.  Now, after eight months of the full-scale invasion of his country, these declarations have been made for an indefinite duration.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that the Court has been used by the collective West for years and expressed no hope for an objective investigation.  “The United Nations should not involve itself in activities with a body that does not enjoy universal support and has a dubious reputation,” he stressed.

Other Member States also voiced concerns about the Court’s functions.  China’s delegate said that the Court maintains that it may assert jurisdiction if at least one element of a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court or part of such crime is committed on the territory of a State party to the Statute.  This approach allows the Court to exercise jurisdiction over non-State parties, which is an improper imposition of treaty obligations, he pointed out. 

Cuba’s delegate meanwhile noted the withdrawal of some States parties to the Rome Statute.  She underscored the Court’s lack of independence as the broad powers attributed to the Security Council violate the principles of independence, transparency and impartiality.  The Council’s selective referral of developing countries does not reflect a fight against impunity.

At the outset of the meeting, Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, delivered opening remarks.

Also today, the Assembly adopted without a vote a draft resolution “Revised estimates relating to the programme budget for 2022 under section 3, Political affairs, and section 36, Staff assessment: special political missions — United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)”, contained in a report of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) (document A/77/535/Add.1 ).  By its terms, the Assembly appropriated $131.345 million and a related staff assessment portion of $10.9 million from the 2022 programme budget to operate UNAMA. 

Also speaking today were representatives of Finland (on behalf of the Nordic Countries), Canada, Guatemala, Slovakia, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, El Salvador, Czech Republic, Romania, Germany, Australia, Paraguay, Cyprus, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Chile, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Poland, United Kingdom, Croatia, Republic of Korea, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Sierra Leone, Argentina, Uganda, Albania, Peru, Georgia, New Zealand, Belgium, Senegal, Philippines, Japan, United States, Slovenia and Colombia, as well as the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer.

The Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, 1 November, at 10 a.m. to consider the report of the Human Rights Council.

Opening Remarks

CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, began by expressing sympathy for the latest attack in Mogadishu, emphasizing: “We stand with the people and government of Somalia against violent extremism.”  Turning to the work of the International Criminal Court, he said the Court, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary, was created to combat impunity by holding responsible perpetrators of the gravest crimes.  The Court was created to deliver justice and to provide the necessary indispensable reparations for the victims of these most heinous crimes.

“Today, the [Court] is an intrinsic part of the fabric of the multilateral system,” he continued, stressing that there should be no place in 2022 for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.  But unfortunately, when such events occur, the international community needs to firmly ensure that the perpetrators be held to account.  In the same vein, it is crucial for an institution “to hold a mirror up to itself and to have an honest, transparent conversation about what it can do better”, he said, stressing that a successful court would set and protect the highest legal and professional standards, hold those guilty of the gravest crimes accountable and serve both as a deterrent and as a model for domestic criminal law systems.  He called on all Member States to support the Court’s important mission and to achieve the universal ratification of the Rome Statute.

Introduction of Report by President of International Criminal Court

PIOTR HOFMAŃSKI, President of the International Criminal Court, presented the Secretary‑General’s note (document A/77/305) containing the Court’s annual report covering the period from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022.  He said that 2022 has been a “special year” for the Court, as it celebrates its twentieth anniversary.  During 20 years of its operations, the Court has opened investigations in 16 countries, on four different continents:  Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.  Moreover, 31 cases, involving 51 suspects or accused, have been brought before the Court thus far.  Individual cases have addressed a wide variety of crimes including sexual violence in conflict, the use of child soldiers, attacks on civilians, forcible displacement, destruction of cultural heritage and much more.

The Rome Statute has inspired numerous States to update their criminal legislation so that they can prosecute cases in their national courts, he said, noting also that the past 12 months have been marked by a stark increase in the Court’s workload.  There has been a record number of five cases on trial in 2022, four of them currently in the phase of hearing the presentation of evidence.  The Court’s three courtrooms “are constantly full of activity”, he said, adding that the Court’s trials never stopped during the pandemic. 

Two of the four cases currently on trial stem from the situation in the Central African Republic.  In the Yekatom and Ngaïssona case, the Prosecution’s presentation of evidence continued throughout the reporting period.  The trial in the Said case commenced just over a month ago, and the Prosecution is now presenting evidence.  In the Al Hassan trial, concerning alleged crimes in Timbuktu, Mali, the prosecution case has concluded, and the Defence is now presenting evidence.  And in the trial of Abd-al-Rahman, the Prosecution case is ongoing. 

In addition to the ongoing trials, another five cases are at the victim reparations stage, he said.  In the Katanga and Lubanga cases, the reparation of victims in the Ituri District of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is well advanced.  In the Ntaganda case, also concerning crimes against victims in the Ituri District, the implementation of reparations has begun.  The reparation order in the Al Mahdi case, concerning the destruction of mausoleums in Timbuktu, has been partially implemented and the work on reparations continues.  In the Ongwen case, the Trial Chamber has received submissions and will issue a reparation order.  However, the conviction is not final, with an appeal pending before the Appeals Chamber.

In the Pre-Trial Division, three new arrest warrants were issued during the reporting period in the situation in Georgia, and one arrest warrant was unsealed in the situation in the Central African Republic.  In the last 12 months, the Prosecutor opened three new investigations into the situation in the Philippines, with judicial authorization, the situation in Venezuela, following a referral by several States parties, and the situation in Ukraine, also following a referral by several States parties.  The Prosecutor’s Office has been active in Ukraine since the opening of the investigation and now has a continuous presence on the ground, he noted. 

The Governments of the Philippines and Venezuela have each informed the Court’s Prosecutor that their national authorities are investigating the alleged crimes in question and, accordingly, asked the Prosecutor to defer to their national investigations, he continued.  Under article 18 of the Rome Statute, he noted, the Court’s Prosecutor must comply with that request unless the Pre-Trial Chamber, on the Prosecutor’s application, decides to authorize the resumption of investigative activities.  “The ICC has no desire to get involved if justice is achievable by national jurisdictions,” he said.  The Court is an avenue for justice when other avenues do not exist, or they are blocked. 

Turning to the Court’s Trust Fund for Victims, he noted that in total more than 21,000 individual victims have formally participated in the Court’s proceedings so far, and close to 3,000 individual victims have received court-ordered reparations.  Moreover, almost 100,000 individuals have directly benefited from projects of the Trust Fund for Victims under its assistance mandate.  With the current progression of cases at the Court, the need for these resources is higher than ever before.  

By electing to join the Rome Statute, he continued, the 123 States have obtained legal protection against the gravest atrocities.  He urged all States to follow that path and also expressed gratitude to the United Nations for its crucial support.  It is of particular concern that 14 arrest warrants issued by the Court remain outstanding, he said, calling on all States to cooperate in executing these arrest warrants so that the accusations may be heard in a court of law.  For the States parties, cooperation with the Court is a binding legal obligation, and it is so also for Sudan and Libya pursuant to the Security Council’s resolutions under Chapter VII, he recalled.

Introduction of Draft Resolution

YOKA BRANDT (Netherlands), associating herself with the European Union, said that over the past two decades, the Court has “come of age”, now investigating situations around the world from the Central African Republic to Ukraine.  It is crucial to further strengthen the system, especially at a time when the most fundamental legal norms are being flagrantly violated.  The Netherlands is proud to be the focal point, together with the Republic of Korea, for the promotion of universality of the Rome Statute.  “We intend to redouble our efforts to gain universal support for the Court’s mandate and the principles that underpin the Rome Statute because we feel this is now more important than ever,” she said, adding that it is essential for the Court to have adequate resources to implement its mandate.  States must cooperate more closely with the Court, including by promptly executing outstanding arrest warrants in line with the obligations under the Rome Statute.  In addition, voluntary cooperation by States is also vital for the effective and efficient functioning of the Court.

She went on to introduce the draft resolution before the Assembly, titled “Report of the International Criminal Court” (document A/77/L.7), noting the Court’s role in a multilateral system that aims to end impunity, promote the rule of law, promote and encourage respect for human rights, achieve sustainable peace and further the development of nations.  She also welcomed this year’s draft text, including “a long overdue update”.


SIMONA POPAN, the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, called on all States to cooperate fully with the Court, from the investigation of alleged crimes to the execution of arrest warrants, so the international community can put an end to impunity for the gravest international crimes.  She called on the Council to refrain from using the right of veto in cases of mass atrocities and to use its right of referral, as appropriate.  Recognizing the important relationship between the Court and Council, she welcomed the Arria-formula meeting, convened by Ireland this summer, to consider practical ways to enhance the relationship.

The Court should improve its efficiency, and it and States parties must ensure gender balance, inclusion, multilingualism, diversity in legal systems and equitable geographical representation, she said.  The Court’s mission would greatly benefit from universal ratification of the Rome Statute and cooperation of all States.  The Rome Statute includes an extensive range of sexual and gender-based crimes and criminalizes persecution based on gender as a crime against humanity.  “Grievously, these crimes continue to occur around the world as we speak,” she said.  Reminding all States of the principle of complementarity, she urged them to build their national capacities so they can pursue investigations and ensure fair and efficient domestic trials, adding that the Court is a court of last resort that may only exercise jurisdiction when States are unwilling or unable to do so.  She reaffirmed the bloc’s unwavering commitment to the Court and pledged its continuous diplomatic and financial support.

REIN TAMMSAAR (Estonia), speaking also on behalf of Latvia and Lithuania and aligning himself with the European Union, said the Court’s efficiency inevitably depends on States’ cooperation with the Court.  All States need to fully engage and cooperate for the arrest and surrender to the Hague of the 15 individuals against whom the Court has issued arrest warrants.  Regarding the Baltic region, he noted the issuance of three arrest warrants relating to crimes allegedly committed during the 2008 armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Georgia.

The Baltic States were among 43 States referring the situation in Ukraine to the Court, and he commended Prosecutor Khan for the investigation’s swift opening.  The perpetrators of atrocity crimes must be brought to justice.  He called on all States who have not done so to accede to the Rome Statute and accept the Statute’s relevant amendments to enable the Court’s jurisdiction to investigate the crime of aggression.  The Baltic States also cooperated in the framework of Eurojust to investigate core international crimes committed in Ukraine, he said, and his delegation joined with other States and the Court’s International Investigation Team, established with Eurojust’s assistance.  The Team’s main purpose is to facilitate investigations and international judicial coordination.  He commended Eurojust and the Prosecutor’s Office at the Court for publishing practical guidelines for civil society organizations on documenting core international crimes.  This practical assistance helps in the collection and preservation of information and evidence that may become admissible in court.

ELINA KALKKU (Finland), speaking also for Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, noted the record number of active cases in Court proceedings and highlighted the Abd-Al-Rahman case, which has a tremendous impact on the people of Darfur, who have long waited for justice.  Stressing the need to effectively implement the Court’s reparation orders in the Ntaganda case, she called for standing contributors to join her bloc in contributing to the Trust Fund for Victims so that it can continue its important work to make justice meaningful for victims of atrocity crimes.  Also noting that the countries in her bloc were among the States parties that participated in the group referral of the situation of Ukraine to the Court, she said such joint referrals send a strong signal.

Urging all States that have not ratified the Rome Statute to consider doing so as a matter of priority, she pointed out that the Court does not replace national judicial systems, but strengthens and complements them.  Stressing the importance of cooperation of all States with the Court, she added that this has many forms, from execution of arrest warrants to voluntary cooperation agreements with the Court for relocation of witnesses or enforcement of sentences.  Encouraging the United Nations to consider sharing the financial burden with respect to the situations the Security Council has referred to the Court, she noted that the Court faces attempts to undermine its work and legitimacy and reaffirmed her bloc’s unwavering commitment to the independence and the impartiality of the Court.

EVA NIAMKE (Côte d'Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the African States Parties to the Rome Statute, attached great importance to the work of the Court as an independent judicial institution.  The role of the Court’s Registrar is central to realizing efficiency.  The Presidency, Chambers and Prosecutor rely on a range of services in the enforcement of judicial decisions, he said.  Therefore, it is important to consider the principle of geographical representation and the importance of gender balance.  In the process to elect a new Registrar, it is fundamental to reflect the Court’s universal character.  She paid tribute to Peter Lewis, elected Registrar of the Court on 28 March 2018 for a period of five years, for effectively leading the Registry during “a most difficult period”.

All victims, no matter where they come from, deserve equal access to impartial justice, he continued, also calling on all States parties when allocating resources to the Court to ensure that its core activities are funded through the regular budget with allocation to all sections of the Court.  African States parties constitute the largest regional group of the Assembly of States parties.  They stand ready to continue their dialogue with the Court on ways to strengthen cooperation between regional groups and the Court itself.  “Together, we will strive to breathe new life into relations between the [Court] and all regions of the world through frank and constructive dialogue within the Assembly of States parties,” he said, also requesting the adoption of the related draft resolution without a vote.

BEATRICE MAILLE (Canada), in commending the election of the new Deputy Prosecutors for advancing gender equity and improving the representation of common and civil law traditions, called on States to address the Court’s outstanding arrest warrants and assist ongoing investigations.  Effective and comprehensive cooperation is essential to the Court’s success, she stressed.  The trial on the situation in Darfur underlines the relevance of the Security Council in fighting against impunity and strengthening international accountability, she pointed out.  The Council must continue its engagement and refer the ongoing situation in Myanmar to the Court.  For their part, non-State parties must ratify the Rome Statute and States in arrears must pay their contributions.  She then spotlighted her country’s voluntary financial contribution of $4 million to the Trust Fund for victims and survivors in Mali, increased deployments of police officers to support investigations and $1 million allocation to the fund to investigate sexual and gender-based crimes and crimes against children.

CARLA MARIA RODRÍGUEZ MANCIA (Guatemala) reaffirmed her delegation’s support for the Court and its commitment to fight impunity.  The Court plays a fundamental role in the international justice system and works to end impunity for the most serious crimes, such as genocide, war and crimes against humanity.  The proof of her delegation’s support every year is that it co-sponsors the draft resolution to adopt the Court’s report, now before the Assembly.  She welcomed cooperation between the United Nations and the Court as such dialogue gives the Court greater visibility and the opportunity to strengthen its authority and its mandate.  She renewed her delegation’s calls for respect for the principle of complementarity, noting that the Court is not a substitute for national courts since national criminal jurisdictions have primacy to investigate those responsible for crimes.  It is necessary to increase cooperation between the Court and Council and to unite efforts to prevent crimes that threaten impunity.  This requires regular exchanges between the Council and the Court.  Today’s resolution would provide the Court with the constant support it needs from the international community, she said.

MATÚŠ KOŠUTH (Slovakia), aligning himself with the European Union’s statement, highlighted the historic achievement represented by the entry into force of the Rome Statute and the operationalization of the Court as an independent court of law, with complementary jurisdiction and victims at its centre.  While the Court may not be completely flawless, its mandate makes it a unique tool for accountability, he said, noting that the independent review has demonstrated the Court’s as well as States parties’ commitment to improving that mandate.  Highlighting the Court’s many cases, including the one concerning Ukraine, which was referred to it by 43 States including his, he said this increasing caseload puts more pressure on the Court.  Calling for adequate and sustainable financing, he urged State parties to pay their contributions in full.  Noting the upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, he said it is an opportunity for all States to seize the momentum and bolster their relationship with the Court.

RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) said that all States parties have the responsibility to work for the improvement of the Rome Statute system by addressing challenges and extending support when needed.  Latin American and Caribbean States represent the second-largest regional group among States parties, only behind the African Group.  He reiterated Brazil’s call for the implementation of article 13 of the Relationship Agreement and of article 115(b) of the Rome Statute so that costs from Security Council referrals are met, at least partially, by funds provided by the United Nations.  Brazil would caution against pursuing expert recommendations that aim at amending the Rome Statute system, a measure that would be premature at this stage.  Attempts to implement recommendations that do not enjoy broad support are also counterproductive, as consensus is key in ensuring an effective and legitimate review.  “Let us not fall into the trap of operating with false dichotomies that oppose peace to justice, as both values complement each other,” he added.

GIANLUCA GRECO (Italy), aligning himself with the European Union, called on States to consolidate the Court’s momentum through a renewed commitment to the Rome Statute and the promotion of its universality.  States must also respect the Court’s independence and ensure that it is equipped to carry out its mandate.  In noting the serious challenges of cooperation, including the execution of outstanding arrest warrants, he further called on States to comply with their obligations under the Rome Statute.  All Member States have obligations under international law, especially in situations referred by the Security Council, he stressed.  Having deposited the instrument of ratification of the Kampala Amendments in January, Italy will continue its voluntary financial and personnel contributions to the Court and will also contribute to the Trust Fund for Victims.  Holding perpetrators of international crimes accountable and repairing the harm suffered by victims and communities is essential to delivering justice and creating the conditions for sustainable peace, he emphasized.

LIU YANG (China) said that China supports the Security Council and the Court acting under the legal framework established by international instruments, including the United Nations Charter and the relationship agreement between the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, “in carrying out cooperation in a way that is in keeping with our respective duties, objectives and working procedures”.  China welcomes the Court’s continued prioritization of handling situations referred by the Security Council.  “We hope that the Court will work through more active engagement and communication, listen to the views of the countries concerned on the situations in question, take into account various local complex factors and follow the principle of complementarity of the Rome Statute,” he said.  The Court maintains that it may assert jurisdiction if at least one element of a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court or part of such crime is committed on the territory of a State Party to the Statute.  This approach allows the Court to exercise jurisdiction over non-State Parties, which is an improper imposition of treaty obligations and lacks sufficient basis in international law, he said.

KYAW MOE TUN (Myanmar) encouraged the Court to either open a preliminary examination or expand the scope of its current investigation.  The people of Myanmar, he noted, are in urgent need of meaningful international accountability for the historic and ongoing serious crimes committed by the military.  As the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar has already received overwhelming evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity, he called on the Security Council to refer the situation to the Court.  For its part, the Court must listen to the voices of Myanmar’s people and use all possible means to hold perpetrators accountable.  Undermining democratic forces in a conflict State is dangerous and may cast doubt on the credibility of international law, he cautioned before expressing support for mainstreaming the Court within the United Nations system.

JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico), in expressing concern over the 15 outstanding arrest warrants, called on authorities and the international community to cooperate with the Court.  Providing justice and the truth must always be above political considerations, he emphasized.  Since achieving universality must be a priority, he urged States parties to ratify the amendments and encouraged non-State Parties to join the treaty.  On ensuring justice and reparations for victims, he underscored the importance of the Trust Fund while stressing the need to provide psychological support to victims and their families.  Mexico condemns all forms of intimidation and violence against civil society organizations combating impunity, he said.  Turning to the referrals, he encouraged the United Nations to absorb associated referral costs.  As permanent members of the Security Council should not veto referrals, France and Mexico have collaborated on an initiative to restrict veto use in the context of mass atrocities, he noted.

EGRISELDA ARACELY GONZÁLEZ LÓPEZ (El Salvador) said her delegation has been a party to the Rome Statute since 2016 and maintains its support for the Court’s work.  She recognized the Court’s essential functions in strengthening international criminal law, international humanitarian law and human rights.  The Court thereby helps contribute to international peace and security, she said, stressing that its independence and universality should be assured.  She reaffirmed that the most serious crimes of concern must not go unpunished.  Effective prosecution must be ensured by taking appropriate action at the national level, along with international cooperation, to ensure justice.  An important component is reparations for victims, she said, and stressed the importance of the Trust Fund for Victims, which has helped benefit 17,000 people.  Reparation orders for victims should be comprehensive while addressing the specific needs of different population groups, such as age, gender, sexual orientation and disabilities.  The legal assistance system should be strengthened, and she noted her delegation’s work with the working group in that regard.

MAREK ZUKAL (Czech Republic), noting that over 20 years the Court became an irreplaceable part of the system of fighting against impunity for most serious crimes under international law, said the current number of States parties, 123, serves as proof of its high relevance and authority.  Calling on States that have not yet ratified the Rome Statute to do so, he pointed to the Court’s investigation into the crimes committed in Ukraine, as a result of the Russian Federation’s aggression.  Voicing support for the Court’s work, including by making available additional resources, in terms of both personnel and financing, for the Office of the Prosecutor, he welcomed the beginning of the first trial concerning the situation in Darfur.  The Council should use its referral powers with regard to all situations that deserve an investigation by the Court in a consistent manner, he added, noting that the situation in Syria is certainly one of those.  The Security Council referral should be considered as an opportunity for independent and impartial investigation.

CORNEL FERUȚĂ (Romania) said that the situation in Ukraine following the illegal and unjustified war of aggression conducted by the Russian Federation added to the already burdensome docket of the Court.  Political and diplomatic efforts must target the promotion of the Court as an essential pillar in the international criminal justice system.  The Court’s functionality is closely related to having the necessary financial resources at its disposal, he said, calling on States parties to fulfil their financial commitments by making contributions to the regular budget in full and on time.  Romania is currently involved in the selection process of experts who could be seconded within the Office of the Prosecutor, thus helping in the fields identified as a priority by his Office.  “It is important to maintain a good momentum and finalize the assessment of the recommendations of the independent experts in order to move to the implementation phase,” he said. 

JOAQUÍN ALBERTO PÉREZ AYESTARÁN (Venezuela), reaffirming commitment to the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, condemned all crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing.  Underscoring the central role of States as guarantors of the fundamental rights of their citizens, he expressed commitment to the Rome Statute, noting that it is an indispensable step to guaranteeing rule of law nationally and internationally.  Recalling that in February 2020, his country made a referral to the Court regarding the activities of persons from the United States, he said that the financial embargo imposed on Venezuela by that country prevents its people from accessing food and medicines.  This systematic deprivation constitutes a crime against humanity per the Rome Statute, he said, adding that he hopes the Prosecutor will proceed with this case and serve justice to the people of Venezuela. Further, the Court must preserve its independence, impartiality and transparency, he said, stressing that it must not become a political instrument.

MICHAEL HASENAU (Germany), in expressing his country’s support to the fight against impunity and the strive for accountability, said the current review and reform process will advance effectiveness and professionalism while strengthening the Court.  Currently, the Court faces important new proceedings in regard to Ukraine.  As accountability is key in responding to the Russian Federation’s war, he stressed the need to ensure that the Court and its Prosecutor are sufficiently equipped to carry out their work.  He then spotlighted his country’s support in referring the situation in Ukraine to the Prosecutor — which facilitated active investigations without the need to seek authorization from the Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber — and providing €18 million each year as the second-largest donor.  Germany has also provided an extra €1 million and seconded eight experts.  “The message is clear:  there is no safe haven for perpetrators of international crimes,” he emphasized.

MITCH FIFIELD (Australia), in co-sponsoring the resolution, reiterated the importance of the principle of complementarity and called on the Court to continue its survivor-centred approach to accountability for sexual and gender-based crimes.  The 13,000 victims who participated in cases over the past highlight the Court’s role in fighting impunity, he pointed out, while commending the Trust Fund for Victims.  He then expressed regret that the Security Council has only twice referred a situation to the Court for investigation.  Permanent members must refrain from using the veto in the face of serious international crimes; the Council must support the Court in implementing referral-based mandates.  All States must cooperate and ensure that cases concerning outstanding arrest warrants can be heard, he added.  The situation in Ukraine demonstrates the importance of an independent and impartial international court, he emphasized, before spotlighting his country’s additional funding and support to the Prosecutor.

JOSÉ EDUARDO PEREIRA SOSA (Paraguay) advocated for the universalization of the Court and called on all countries to cooperate with it in order to ensure its independence and impartiality.  “There is no statute of limitations for torture, genocide, forced disappearances of people, kidnapping or murder for political reasons,” he added, calling for closer cooperation between the Court and Governments.  The role of the Court as a defender of those values is considered essential and “compels us to carry out the necessary collective efforts”, he said, to strengthen and reaffirm it as an institution and constantly ensure that its mandate is implemented.  For Paraguay, the Court represents a victory for the international community’s collective efforts to prevent impunity for the most serious crimes.  Therefore, adequate compensation to the victims constitutes an important element in the work of the Court, he said.

HARIS CHRYSOSTOMOU (Cyprus), aligning with the European Union, said his delegation has always been a strong supporter of the Court’s system and worked to consolidate it as an independent and impartial judicial institution.  His delegation is also working for the universal ratification and full implementation of the Rome Statute.  Cyprus has co-sponsored the draft resolution now before the Assembly.  It contains new language on the prohibition of the illegal use of force enshrined in the Charter, as well as on genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.  He noted that Cyprus, itself a victim of foreign aggression, was one of the first countries to ratify the Kampala Amendment to the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression, which has been embedded in the jurisdictional regime of the Rome Statute since July 2018.  He urged all parties to do the same.  He said the lack of impunity is partly owed to the lack of referrals by the Council.  The Council’s ability to refer situations to the Court is one of its most powerful tools to interrupt the conflict cycle, to ensure sustainable peace and provide justice and effective remedies to victims.  The Council’s referrals should refrain from using the veto in order to prevent the Council from acting to end the commission of atrocity crimes, namely the French-Mexican initiative and the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Alliance’s code of conduct.

MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh), calling on Myanmar to cooperate with the Court’s investigation, said that could be an important confidence-building measure for the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya to Myanmar.  Expressing concern about their safety in Myanmar in the absence of any accountability for the perpetrators, he also highlighted the critical importance of the Court’s work in Palestine and expressed appreciation for its cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations.  The Trust Fund for Victims plays a critical role in responding to the harm suffered by victims, he said, adding that Bangladesh’s respect for the importance of the Court’s mandate and its efficiency is reflected in its contribution to that Fund.  Calling on Member States to enhance voluntary contributions to the Fund, he highlighted the complementary roles of the Court and the Security Council and called on them to work together to strengthen synergies and ensure accountability. 

Ms. SILVA WALKER (Cuba), in noting the withdrawal of some States parties to the Rome Statute, called for a judicial institution which imparts justice.  Articles 13 and 16 of the Statute, she pointed out, demonstrate the Court’s lack of independence as the broad powers attributed to the Security Council violate the principles of independence, transparency and impartiality.  The Council’s selective referral of developing countries does not reflect a fight against impunity, she added.  There must be an international criminal jurisdiction which is impartial, non-selective, effective and just; complements national justice systems; and is immune to political interests.  The Court must also respect the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, she said before expressing concern over the precedent created by that body’s judicial proceedings against individuals who are nationals of non-State Parties.  The Assembly’s resolution on the Court and its report must reflect the positions of States parties and non-State Parties, she emphasized.

RICCARDA CHRISTIANA CHANDA (Switzerland), in welcoming the cooperation between the Court and United Nations-mandated accountability mechanisms, called for the Security Council to develop a coherent referral policy and ensure active follow-up on its relevant resolutions.  For their part, States must respect their obligations to cooperate under the Rome Statute.  The Court, she pointed out, relies on States’ full cooperation to fulfil its mandate and ensure justice for the victims of the most serious crimes.  As fighting impunity requires universal support, all States must ratify the Rome Statute.  The Court is complementary to national jurisdictions, he noted, while stressing that the body can only intervene if States are unable or unwilling to do so.  She then called on all States parties to ratify the recent amendments — including on the use of specific weapons — which further protect civilians and prevent suffering.  These important changes must be reflected in the General Assembly resolution on the Court to ensure that the Assembly’s work remains as pertinent as ever, she said.

Ms. CACERES NAVARETTE (Chile) said that the Court not only plays a fundamental role in sanctioning the most serious crimes under its jurisdiction, but also its existence is a clear deterrent for the same conduct repeating itself.  Necessary cooperation must exist between States and the Court during investigations, she stressed.  It serves as a determining factor in achieving the final goal of the Rome Statute, which is to provide justice.  The Court does not have its own police force or its own territory, and therefore, depends on the States parties to the Rome Statute in this regard.  “The success of the [Court] will be determined by the level of cooperation that it receives from States,” she said.  Chile welcomes the strengthening of cooperation between the United Nations and the Court.  There are 15 arrest warrants issued by the Court that are still outstanding, she observed, urging States parties to live up to their obligations and provide necessary cooperation and assistance.  Chile reiterates its commitment to strengthen international criminal law and advocates for the existence of an International Criminal Court that is ever more robust and effective.  She also emphasized the important relationship between the Court and the Security Council.

CRISTIAN ESPINOSA CAÑIZARES (Ecuador) said his delegation co-sponsored the resolution and worked to create a balance among Member States as it wanted the resolution to be adopted by consensus.  The Court works as a complement to national legislation to combat crimes.  Those responsible for atrocity crimes must be held responsible to ensure the rule of law at the international level.  Since its inception, the Court has adopted 31 cases regarding 50 accused individuals; in the last year, it has broadened its activities.  Part of its important work is reparations to victims and 17,000 victims have benefited from assistance.  The Court also has a review process to enhance the institutions associated with the Rome Statute.  The Court should be properly financed, which is necessary so it can carry out its important activities, he said, adding that more money is needed for the and Trust Fund for Victims.  He recognized the United Nations support to the Court in various areas.

DENNIS FRANCIS (Trinidad and Tobago) said the Court’s primary mission is accountability, yet it also discourages impunity and contributes to the elevation of humanity.  He urged States to cooperate with the Court at all stages of investigations and proceedings, including the issuance of arrest warrants and the transfer of suspects to be tried by it.  He said there is a pervasive lack of evidence to support the view that the Court poses a threat to national sovereignty.  This view ignores the fact that, consistent with the principle of complementarity, the Court’s jurisdiction can only be invoked when States are unable or unwilling to prosecute those accused of committing crimes falling within the Court’s competence.  He welcomed the Court’s progressive initiatives around gender equality, which are important considerations in its proceedings, including when reparations are ordered to victims.  He noted the Court’s efforts towards its own gender balance and the elevation of a countrywoman, Althea Alexis-Windsor, to the bench in 2020.

KRZYSZTOF SZCZERSKI (Poland), aligning himself with the European Union, noted the Court’s prominent place in the architecture of international criminal justice.  “A war continues to rage in Ukraine, just beyond our eastern border, with international crimes committed by the Russian Federation on an unimaginable scale,” he said.  The world is now aware that atrocities have occurred in Ukraine on a scale not seen in Europe since the Second World War, he added, noting that this prompted 43 States parties, including his country, to request the Court’s Prosecutor, under article 14 of the Statute, to open an investigation into the crimes committed in Ukraine.  Only through universal ratification of the Rome Statute by all States will the Court’s jurisdiction be enlarged to encompass allegations of international crimes committed by any person in any place, he stressed, also emphasizing the importance of close cooperation between States and the Court and timely contributions to finance its activities.

CHANAKA WICKREMASINGHE (United Kingdom) noted the commencement of the trial of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman; continuation of the trial of Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona; three arrest warrants issued on the situation in Georgia; investigation into the situation in Ukraine; conclusion of several preliminary examinations, including the situations in Colombia and Venezuela; and the participation of victims in Court proceedings.  Accountability is vital to ensuring justice for victims and for maintaining sustainable peace, he emphasized while encouraging all States parties to support the Prosecutor.  To that end, the Prosecutor must work closely with States, form partnerships with national authorities in line with the principle of complementarity, prioritize cases referred by the Security Council and strengthen links to the Council where mandates are mutually reinforcing.  In pledging his country’s continued financial, practical and political support, he urged other States to do so as well.

IVAN ŠIMONOVIĆ (Croatia) called on Member States that have not yet ratified the Rome Statute, including its amendments, to do so.  He called on the Security Council to refrain from using the veto in cases of mass atrocities.  The Council’s referrals empower the Court to investigate crimes under the Rome Statute, including the crime of aggression, without any further conditions.  A request of 43 States including Croatia for the Court to act on crimes being committed in Ukraine is a clear attempt to advance the fight against impunity.  “It is our collective responsibility to ensure the Court’s ability to carry out its mandate independently and impartially,” he said.  It is of utmost importance that the Rome Statute’s core principles are not called into question, he said, reiterating Croatia’s strong support for the Court as a powerful instrument to fight impunity as well as to promote justice, accountability and a rules-based international order.

CHOI TAEEUN (Republic of Korea) emphasized the importance of cooperation to the Court’s judicial efficiency and overall functioning.  The success of the fight against impunity hinges also on the universal jurisdiction of the Rome Statute, he added.  As a focal point of the Court’s Assembly of States parties to promote universality, Japan hosted a high-level seminar in Brussels in May and organized a luncheon meeting to commemorate the Statute’s twentieth anniversary in Seoul in July.  Turning to the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Expert Review, he called on the Court to carefully and thoroughly consider equitable geographical representation.  Doing so will benefit the Court by ensuring a diversity of perspectives, which increases creative approaches, addresses perception challenges and helps advance the Statute’s universality.

GUSTAVO ADOLFO RAMÍREZ BACA (Costa Rica) stressed that the international community needs to have the security and confidence of having an independent and impartial judicial body so that the worst international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, do not go unpunished.  He welcomed the initiation of a trial based on a referral from the Security Council as a positive sign that highlights the complementarity of the Court and the Council for those cases in which the Court lacks direct competition.  It is essential that the States parties reinforce firm political and financial commitments to meet the growing volume of work and to further expand the activities carried out by the Court in compliance with its mandate.  He said the next Assembly of States parties is a golden opportunity to seriously assess the discrepancy between the high workload and the resources available to the Court and to analyze the effects of the “zero growth approach”.  Calling for the adoption of a consistent budget, he urged those States parties that are behind in their assessments to pay up as soon as possible.  He further stressed that cooperating with the Court should not be an act of extreme bravery that endangers the lives of people seeking justice.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) welcomed the continued global reach of the Court’s work, in line with its mandate, but noted its reach continues to be limited through the lack of progress on the universality of its founding treaty and the political deadlock in the Security Council - which has failed to refer any situation to the Court in over a decade despite the obvious and urgent need to do so.  He commended the attention the Prosecutor is attaching to the investigation of the one crime committed in Myanmar over which the Court is currently able to exercise jurisdiction, expressing hope that the full exercise of jurisdiction will be possible soon, particularly in light of the ongoing attack of Myanmar’s military regime against its own civilian population.  He welcomed that the Assembly has finally updated its resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Court.  He further noted that the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is among the most widely ratified treaties elaborated in the United Nations system, while the Geneva Conventions enjoy near universal support.  He expressed regret that the Court is unable to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in the case of Ukraine due to its restricted jurisdictional regime – calling for that shortcoming to be addressed by States parties who will meet in about a month for their annual gathering.

DIARRA DIME LABILLE (France), aligning herself with the European Union, spotlighted her country’s work in ensuring that no perpetrator of atrocity crimes goes unpunished.  Since the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine, France has provided a voluntary contribution of €500,000 and made available staff from its Ministry of Justice and Ministry of the Interior.  All States parties must honour their financial obligations to the Court, she stressed before calling on all States to cooperate with the Court - especially on arrest warrants – and provide the necessary funding for mandate delivery.  France will combat any attempts to obstruct justice, she said.  The ongoing review process will strengthen the Court and make it more credible and effective.  As multilingualism and balance in legal traditions are essential for legitimacy and effectiveness, its staff and working methods must reflect these values and diversity, she added.  For its part, the international community must ensure the ratification of the Rome Statute.

DECLAN SMYTH (Ireland), noting that the Court has experienced some growing pains since its establishment, said its increasing workload demonstrates how the institution has matured into an integral part of the international criminal justice system.  Expressing concern about the reports of threats and intimidation directed at some civil society organizations cooperating with the Court, he welcomed the Bureau’s adoption of a strategy for responding to attacks on the Court.  Stressing that real justice cannot be achieved without the meaningful participation of those most affected by the crimes being prosecuted, he added that the Trust Fund for Victims is, for many affected communities, “the most potent presence of the Court in their lives”.  Noting that the Trust Fund is now overseeing reparations programmes in five cases, he underscored that such programmes are essential to promote recovery and praised “the restorative vision of justice” that informs the Trust Fund under the Rome Statute framework.

ALAIN GERMEAUX (Luxembourg), aligning himself with the European Union, said his delegation co-sponsored the resolution and is pleased with its substantial update.  He reaffirmed unwavering support for the international criminal justice system as the Court celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year.  The Court is an essential tool with which to combat impunity, and with the increase in serious crimes, the Court is crucial to holding perpetrators accountable and finding justice for victims.  He welcomed the Court’s increasing activities yet noted it needs resources commensurate with these activities.  The promotion of criminal justice is necessary to maintain international peace and security, he said, stressing: “Peace and justice go hand in hand.”  In light of developments that occurred this year in  Ukraine, he welcomed the Prosecutor’s 2 March decision to open an investigation on the situation in that country.  The Court depends on the cooperation of the Council.  He noted the Court now has 14 open arrest warrants, and six of these were referred by the Council.  He urged the Council to effectively follow up on its work and urged all States to ratify the Rome Statute, which would increase its collective weight.

VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta), aligning herself with the European Union, welcomed the opening of new investigations by the Prosecutor, including those concerning the situation in Ukraine.  No efforts must be spared to ensure timely accountability, she stressed.  As an elected Security Council member for 2023-2024, Malta calls for consistency and objectivity in referring situations to the Court, she said.  The Council must ensure follow-up and call on the relevant States to cooperate.  All States must respect the Court’s independence and integrity and actively cooperate with its investigations, she added.  Turning to civil society organizations, she welcomed the practical guidelines issued by Eurojust and the Prosecutor on documenting core international crimes.  As ensuring accountability for victims is essential to stopping the cycle of further violence, she commended the work of the Trust Fund and encouraged all States to become parties to the Rome Statute.

ALHAJI FANDAY TURAY (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the African States Parties to the Rome Statute, called on all stakeholders to continue their support and constructive engagement with the Independent Review Mechanism.  Noting Sierra Leone’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the term 2024-2025, he further noted that the trial of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman is the first trial before the Court based on a referral by the Council.  It shows the significant role of the Council within the Rome Statute system, he said.  The Court and the Security Council have different yet complementary roles in addressing the gravest crimes of concern.  Sierra Leone believes that human rights protection builds confidence and bridges societal divides by strengthening a sense of common values and shared humanity.  It also promotes the peaceful resolution of conflicts grounded in respect for the dignity of all, he said.

Mr. MARTINSEN (Argentina), in commending the Court for combating impunity, promoting human rights and consolidating international law, called on States parties to provide the necessary support to protect the Court from external pressure and ensure its integrity and independence.  They must also do their part in implementing the strategy of the Bureau of the Assembly while promoting and protecting the Court’s mandate.  Universality, he continued, is essential in overcoming the perception of selectivity in the application of international criminal justice.  As ratification is vital to closing impunity gaps, all States must adhere to the Rome Statute.  For their part, States parties must ratify all amendments.  He then urged States to cooperate fully and effectively with the Court and all applicable Security Council resolutions.  States should also guarantee effective complementarity by including crimes and principles of the Statute in their national legislation, he added.

GENNADY V. KUZMIN (Russian Federation), underscored the unchanged position of his country towards the Court, saying that in the 20 years of its existence, the judicial body became notorious for its outrageous falsifications and the unprecedented use of selective and politicized approaches.  “If the guilty party has already been determined, and the process is paid for and coordinated by Western countries — what justice is there to speak of?” he questioned.  Detailing instances relating to Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, he emphasized that the Court has been used by the collective West to justify their actions in Libya; cover-up interference of the high-ranking United Kingdom Ministry of Defense officials in the case related to the killing of 54 Afghan citizens by British military personnel in 2010-2011; and to de-prioritize and terminate the investigation related to crimes, allegedly committed by the British soldiers against civilians in Iraq.  “This is selective justice for the selected few,” he stressed.  Turning to the Court’s involvement in Ukraine, he expressed no hope for an objective investigation.  “The United Nations should not involve itself in activities with a body that does not enjoy universal support and has a dubious reputation,” he stressed.

PHILIP OCHEN ANDREW ODIDA (Uganda), aligning himself with African States Parties to the Rome Statute, said the principal of complementarity is the backbone of the criminal justice system.  It is important to promote accountability for crimes, he said, adding that justice can best be served by strengthening national judicial systems.  All victims deserve access to impartial justice.  He noted the important work of the Trust Fund for Victims, which has helped more than 17,000 people.  “Victims lie at the core of the Rome Statute system and the Court must stand up for all victims,” he said.  He said the Review Mechanism also plays a key role in ensuring the Court’s effectiveness and he welcomed the review process.  He also welcomed the Court’s process for the election of the Registrar, which is central to ensure the Court’s efficiency and success.  The Registrar and the Registry are essential to deliver the many services of the Court, including ensuring the safety of officials, he said, adding that the Registrar must be a strong leader.

ANDRIS STASTOLI (Albania) said overcoming charges of selectivity and double standards is vital to the Court’s authority and its rulings, especially for their full and effective implementation.  Member States should overcome all arbitrary obstacles to the Court’s work so it can pursue its mandate in agreement with the universal principles that justify its existence.  The Court is a powerful instrument that must be mobilized through universal support by all States, he said, urging  universal ratification of the Rome Statute and full implementation at the national level.  There is a greater potential for cooperation between the Court and the United Nations, especially with the Council referring cases where the Court lacks jurisdiction, he said, urging stronger cooperation to fulfil the complementary roles of the Court and Council in pursuing peace and justice.  For this reason, his delegation last April invited the Court Prosecutor to work towards ensuring accountability for atrocities committed in Ukraine, he said.

ALESSANDRA FALCONI (Peru) highlighted the importance of reparations made to victims, expressed concern for the Court’s funding deficit and urged voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund for Victims.  Turning to Ukraine, she welcomed the active commitment of the Prosecutor to work with that country.  On Darfur, she welcomed the cooperative synergy between the Court and Security Council.  She highlighted the importance of the memorandum of understanding reached between Venezuela and the Court’s Prosecutor and the subsequent agreement to establish an office in Caracas.  Justice and accountability are fundamental to maintaining international peace and security, she continued.  The Court is the only international court that enjoys the support of the international community and the cooperation of States parties so that it can fulfill its mandate to ensure justice for the victims of war crimes.  Further, she welcomed more States ratifying amendments to the Rome Statute.

GVARAM KHANDAMISHVILI (Georgia), associating himself with the European Union, noted that Georgia was among the States referring the situation in Ukraine to the Court.  He also pointed out that his country contributed to strengthening the Court through institutional and budgetary means, including donations to the Trust Fund for Victims.  He recalled that in 2016 his country granted the Prosecutor's request to open an investigation proprio motu on the situation in Georgia in relation to crimes against humanity and war crimes.  In this regard, the Government undertakes intensive efforts daily to match the investigation’s increasing needs.  The cooperation with the Court has yielded concrete and tangible results:  in 2022 the Court issued arrest warrants for three individuals for the war crimes committed during the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Georgia and confirmed the Russian Federation’s responsibility for gross violations against ethnic Georgians, including unlawful confinement, torture, inhumane treatment and attacks against personal dignity, among others.

CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand) stressed that an independent Court to act as a last resort to try the most serious crimes of concern to humanity is as necessary as ever.  She commended the substantial judicial work the Court has undertaken in 2022 despite challenges posed by the COVID‑19 pandemic.  She reaffirmed her country’s unwavering support for the Court and its mandate to hold to account those individuals responsible for the most serious international crimes.  New Zealand is one of the group of countries to formally refer the Ukrainian situation to the Court, she recalled, adding that New Zealand has also continued to provide additional funding to the Trust Fund for Victims.  It will continue to support the ongoing review process to strengthen the Rome Statute system and enhance the performance of the Court’s mandate.  “The Court complements, rather than replaces, national courts as an independent court of last resort,” she reminded, emphasizing that the main responsibility to take measures when faced with the commission of international crimes lies with States.

KARL LAGATIE (Belgium), associating himself with the European Union, noted the Court’s annual report is essential and shows how that body is a central pillar of the world order and of the fight against impunity for crimes which shock the international community as a whole.  Armed conflicts unfortunately still strike all regions of the world today, and it is essential to combine forces so that civilian populations, wherever they are, caught in a vice and suffering from atrocious violence, can maintain hope in justice.  To fight impunity with effectiveness and credibility, States must play their role, judging the crimes themselves, with the Court intervening only in a manner complementary to national jurisdictions.  States must also cooperate with the Court at all stages of the proceedings when it is the Court which prosecutes and judges, and they must ensure respect for its fundamental principles of impartiality and independence.  He further called on States to pay their obligatory contribution to the Court’s annual budget on time, he said, stressing that this support cannot be selective.

Mr. DIAKITE (Senegal), aligning himself with the African States Parties to the Rome Statute, called for the Assembly to demonstrate closer links and cooperation with the Court.  The international community has a moral responsibility to prevent and punish the most serious international crimes and provide all necessary assistance to victims, he said.  As compensation is a key component of international criminal justice, he welcomed the Trust Fund.  The Court cannot fulfil its mission without cooperation from States parties, he pointed out while highlighting its salience during the regional conference in Dakar in May 2022.  He then acknowledged the role and cooperation of the Security Council and called on States parties to maintain the Court’s independence and integrity.  Universal ratification of the Statute and the incorporation of its norms in domestic law, he continued, are prerequisites for ensuring justice.  Member States must dispel all misunderstandings, bolster the Court’s credibility and build complementarity by supporting national judiciaries to prosecute the most serious crimes, he emphasized.

MYKOLA PRYTULA (Ukraine), welcoming the Court’s latest report, said he appreciated the decision of the Prosecutor to proceed with the investigation of the situation in Ukraine, based on 43 referrals.  During this extraordinary time, the Court should receive cooperation from the United Nations on a wide range of issues, he said, stressing that such cooperation is an additional way to prevent and fight against impunity for the most serious crimes.  He was grateful to all the States and specialists who have contributed to this work with financial, technical and legal analysis as well as other expert support.  He said he firmly believes the Court will be able to create a historical precedent of a legal response to the crimes committed by the Russian occupiers.  For many years the world looked for ways to prevent a recurrence of full-scale war in Europe and ensure the inevitability of punishment for war criminals.  Now the Court exists to ensure justice and protect humanity.  He noted the previous declarations his Government filed with the Court in 2014 and 2015 under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute accepting its jurisdiction for alleged crimes committed on its territory.  Now, after eight months of the full-scale invasion of his country, these declarations have been made for an indefinite duration.  The scope of investigation started in March of this year by the Prosecutor includes past and present war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed on any part of the territory of Ukraine from 21 November 2013 onward.  Ukraine is fully committed to work with the Prosecutor, he assured.  The Court’s work should be supplemented by a special tribunal to investigate the original crime of aggression against Ukraine, he said, and invited other States to join Ukraine in creating this special tribunal.

ARIEL RODELAS PEÑARANDA (Philippines), in disassociating himself from the resolution welcoming the Court’s report, expressed regret over the Prosecutor’s actions in proceeding with the investigation concerning his country.  The Philippines’ Secretary of Justice established the Inter-Agency Review Panel to reinvestigate cases involving fatalities in the campaign against illegal drugs, he said.  Since the Rome Statute requires both the Court and the Prosecutor to respect and defer to the primary criminal jurisdiction of the concerned State Party while proceedings are ongoing, the Prosecutor must defer to this national investigation.  Any actions otherwise are inconsistent with the principle of complementarity, he pointed out.  The Philippines, he continued, has implemented a joint programme with the United Nations on supporting national institutions on human rights promotion and protection.  His Government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute was out of a principled stand against those who politicize human rights, he explained. 

SHUNSUKE NAGANO (Japan) said his country is committed to the fight against impunity and the promotion of rule of law in the international community.  Japan firmly believes that strengthening rule of law based on respect for international law will benefit all countries and regions and will lead to the development of a healthy international community.  He pledged to work closely with the Court, given its central role in the prosecution and punishment of the most serious crimes, including war crimes.  The international community's interest in and expectations for the Court have steadily grown, particularly after the referral to it of the situation in Ukraine.  In addition to being a Bureau member, Japan is also the largest financial contributor and provides qualified human resources including judges and other Court personnel.  

ANDREW WEINSTEIN (United States) welcomed the opening of the trial in April in the case against a former Janjaweed commander, known as Ali Kushayb, saying it marked the first trial against any senior leader for crimes committed by the Omar al-Bashir regime in Darfur.  The United States also commends the Court’s progress on cases related to the Central African Republic.  The ongoing trials against Alfred Yekatom, Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona and Mahamat Said Abdel Kani for crimes against humanity and war crimes “represent a strong blow against impunity”.  He further welcomed progress made in cases related to Mali and Venezuela.  The United States supports a range of international investigations into atrocities in Ukraine.  “We will continue to stand with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal aggression and in seeking justice and accountability,” he said.  The United States continues to encourage the authorities in Sudan to transfer suspects to the Court and will continue to offer monetary rewards for information leading to the arrest of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony.  Emphasizing that national systems must be the first and foremost venue for accountability, he said the United States continues to assist countries in building their own domestic capacities in this regard.  “The United States is a strong supporter of meaningful accountability and justice for the victims of atrocities,” he added.

BOŠTJAN MALOVRH (Slovenia), aligning himself with the European Union, reaffirmed his country’s continued diplomatic and financial support for the Court’s mandate.  The Court must have sufficient resources to meet the high expectations of States parties and other stakeholders for greater effectiveness and efficiency while ensuring the integrity of its work.  It is high time to provide a long-term sustainable budget that will suffice for an ever-increasing caseload and address the issue of arrears, he said.  The current crisis, he continued, demonstrates the importance of cooperation between States parties in ensuring effective accountability.  Security Council referrals of situations that would not otherwise fall under the Court’s jurisdiction would significantly contribute to the prevention of atrocities and crimes and improve the Court’s effectiveness and credibility.  As States parties must ensure the Court’s independence and impartiality, they must also take more initiative to ensure the execution of outstanding warrants and implement the principle of complementarity, he urged.

LUCIA TERESA SOLANO RAMIREZ (Colombia) spotlighted her country’s cooperation with the Court.  In ending the inquiry into Colombia, the longest inquiry to date within the Court’s history, the Prosecutor had expressed support for that country’s national bodies responsible for justice.  Together, they established fact-based frameworks and fact-finding missions to ensure responsibility for the perpetrators of crimes.  This agreement, she continued, reflects an innovative partnership supported by a budget and a legislative and constitutional framework to facilitate accountability, avoid undue interference and ensure full cooperation between institutions.  Such a system demonstrates the importance of complementarity since the Court’s work will contribute to the development of Colombia’s transitional and traditional justice systems.  Colombia will share its experiences with other countries in similar situations, she offered.

For information media. Not an official record.