Statement by H. E. Ms. Tiina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court at the Open Debate in the Security Council on Peace and justice, with a special focus on the role of the ICC
I am speaking in my capacity as
President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court and as Estonia’s Ambassador-at-large for the
International Criminal Court.
would like to join others in thanking Guatemala for organizing this timely and
indeed long-awaited debate, which provides an opportunity to examine the
relationship between the Security Council and the ICC. In making this
statement, Estonia aligns itself with the statement that will be delivered on
behalf of the European Union.
Council and the Court are not only connected through the relationship
established by the Rome Statute but, first and foremost, through the common
concern for crimes that, in the words of the preamble to the Rome Statute,
“threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world”. By working to end
impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the
international community, the Court contributes to the prevention of such
crimes. Justice is a fundamental building block for peace. Impunity for the most
serious crimes can no longer be an option.
recent years, issues of rule of law and justice have gained prominence in the
Council, becoming part of the mainstream of Council discussions. The fact that
the Council has increasingly been able to refer to the Court’s work in its resolutions,
presidential and press statements is indeed welcome. It is evident that the
Council has recognized the contribution of the Court to the fight against
impunity and to international peace and security.
the Rome Statute system is first and foremost a consent-based arrangement, article
13 (b) of the Rome Statute enables the Security Council to refer situations to
the Court, thereby extending the reach of the Court and making justice and
accountability possible in States that are not parties to the Rome Statute. This
is a great opportunity to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes that would
otherwise go unpunished.
Security Council resolutions 1593 (2005) and 1970 (2011) took
crucial steps in the fight against impunity by referring the situations in
Darfur and Libya to the ICC. Recognizing these achievements, we
must also be conscious of the challenges faced by the Court with respect to the
two referrals, which are a subject of continuous discussion among States
Parties. Allow me to share a few thoughts, bearing also in mind the possibility
of future referrals.
Security Council receives periodic reports from the Prosecutor concerning both
situations it has referred to the ICC. Given their complicated nature, the
Court and, indeed, the Council itself, would greatly benefit from a more
efficient and vigorous follow-up of these situations, including using sanctions
mechanisms of the Council. In particular, the Council could consider imposing sanctions
against individuals who are sought by the Court, especially when there is
already a sanctions committee in place covering an ICC situation country. There should also be coordination
between the sanctions committees and the ICC to ensure that frozen assets
belonging to individuals can be claimed by the Court to finance the defense of
these individuals before the Court and, ultimately, reparations to victims.
The Court would also benefit from a follow-up
by the Council with regard to instances of non-cooperation. In this context, I
would like to mention that the Assembly of States Parties has in place its own
mechanisms to follow up on instances of non-cooperation by States Parties.
referral of situations to the Court by the Security Council creates a financial
burden which has hitherto been borne entirely by States Parties to the Rome
Statute. This situation was not foreseen by the Rome Statute, which assumes, in
its article 115, that the United Nations will reimburse the Court for the costs
incurred due to Security Council referrals. The ICC is a small court with a
relatively limited budget. Budget discussions amongst States Parties at the end
of last year, shortly after the adoption of resolution 1970, showed that the
present practice may not be sustainable.
cooperation and assistance by all States, and international and regional
organizations is as essential for the ICC to fulfill its mandate as it was for
the ad hoc international criminal tribunals
previously set up by the Security Council. In future referrals, the Security
Council might consider imposing an obligation to cooperate with the Court on
all UN Member States, in order to make the Court’s work in these cases more
efficient and effective.
10 years of existence, the Court and States Parties to the Rome Statute are
engaged in a lessons-learned exercise to make the ICC and the whole of the Rome
Statute system more efficient. This includes a consistent focus on cooperation
with the ICC, including the execution of the more than 10 outstanding arrest
warrants. After two referrals of situations to the Court, it would be useful
were the Security Council to establish a working group or a Rome Statute caucus
examine the practice of past referrals, effectiveness of investigations
stemming from them, and to look into the modalities of future referrals. Given
the common goal of the Council and the Rome Statute of the fight against
atrocity crimes, I am sure that both the Council and the ICC would benefit from
Parties to the Rome Statute stand for the integrity of the Statute. They also
advocate for universal ratification of the Rome Statute since this the ultimate
way to ensure accountability for international crimes. I therefore call upon all States which have
not yet done so to ratify or accede to the Rome Statute.
concluding, Mr President, allow me to offer some thoughts about victims. Victims
are at the center of the Rome Statute system. Successful investigations and
prosecutions assist in restoring dignity to victims by acknowledging their
suffering and help to create a historical record that protects against those
who will seek to deny that atrocities occurred. Let us not fail those who have
suffered from atrocity crimes and look to us for succor.