ICC - President of the Assembly: Statement on the tenth anniversary of the International Criminal Court

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I congratulate the International Criminal Court on its tenth anniversary. The Court and its supporters have many successes to look back on throughout the first decade of the Court’s existence. The Court has become the centrepiece of the international community’s efforts to bring justice to the victims of the worst crimes under international law. As the ad hoc and hybrid international tribunals phase out their work, the Court’s role as the only permanent international criminal court will become even more important.

The verdict in the case of  The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo  in March of this year has shown the ability of the Court to fulfil its core judicial functions. The upcoming reparations phase of this trial will put into practice an important innovation of the Rome Statute. Through its investigations and prosecutions of fifteen cases in seven situations, the Court has begun to fulfil the promise of the Rome Statute to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes.

This success has been recognized. The ranks of States Parties to the Rome Statute continue to swell from 66 on the date of the Rome Statute’s entry into force to 121 today. The Security Council has twice referred situations to the Court, on the last occasion, in the case of Libya, by consensus. This consensus illustrates the recognition, even among States not party to the Statute, that there are no viable alternatives to the Court.

Many people have worked to make the Court what it is today, and it would be impossible to list them all here. My gratitude, therefore, goes out to all who have dedicated their time and efforts towards advancing the work of the Court. I would especially like to thank the staff of the Court for their untiring work in carrying out the Court’s operations throughout the past decade, even in the most complicated situations. The Court today would not be what it is without their work. I welcome today’s release of the four staff members who have been detained in Libya since 7 June.

As we look back on the first ten years of the Court’s existence, States Parties are justifiably proud of the institution they have created. We also look to the future, however, and see that there is much work to be done. We must work together with the Court to ensure a more efficient conduct of judicial proceedings; we must do more to improve relations between the Court and its States Parties, especially in Africa; we must help one another to strengthen domestic jurisdictions to enable them to investigate and prosecute Rome Statute crimes at the national level; we must follow-up on our own decisions of the Review Conference of the International Criminal Court by ratifying the amendments to the Rome Statute , and we must continue to provide the Court with the resources necessary to carry out its mandate. We have come far, but as we strive to end impunity for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, we still have a long road ahead.


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