– CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY –
I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland† and Serbia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.
I would like to thank Guatemala for this timely initiative. On last 3 April, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, welcomed Guatemala’s accession to the Rome Statute. At present, 121 States are parties to the Rome Statute. We welcome the announcement made by Haiti during the recent High Level Meeting on the Rule of Law concerning its intention to ratify it, and we praise the decision of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to commit to ratifying the same treaty following the reform of its Constitutional framework.
The EU and its Member States are firm supporters of the International Criminal Court, which is key to the international community for bringing to justice those individuals bearing criminal responsibility for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute them. 2012 represents a milestone for the ICC as the Court delivered its first verdict against Thomas Lubanga who was convicted for recruiting and using child soldiers.
In this context, the EU and its Member States underline the important relationship which already exists between the ICC and the Security Council. Resolution 67/1 of the General Assembly recalled the role of the ICC in a multilateral system that aims to end impunity and establish the rule of law. The Security Council acknowledged the role of the ICC, in particular in its Resolutions 2053 (2012) on the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2062 (2012) on Côte d’Ivoire and 2071 (2012) on Mali. It also did so with regard to sexual violence in conflict (Resolution 1960 (2010)), and concerning Children and armed conflict (Resolution 2068 (2012)).
The Security Council is also connected to the ICC by its ability to take action as foreseen in the Rome statute.
We commend the Security Council for its decisiveness in referring the situations in Darfur and Libya to the ICC. Follow-up by the Security Council to the situations which it has referred, inter alia with regard to instances of non-cooperation, remains important as does sufficient support for the actions of the Court.
Efforts to combat impunity will not be effective unless there is greater collective and individual cooperation with the ICC. Without State cooperation, the ICC cannot fulfil its mandate. This applies to all States Parties of the Rome Statute as well as when the UN Security Council has referred a situation to the Court in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Out of 23 individuals against whom the ICC currently has open cases, 12 are currently absconding from justice and some have done so for several years. This stifles the ICC’s capacity to deliver justice. Non-cooperation with the Court in regard to the execution of arrest warrants constitutes a violation of international obligations; in certain circumstances related to referrals by the Security Council it also constitutes a beach of obligations under the United Nations Charter. The EU and its Member States underline the importance of consistent action to encourage full cooperation of States with the ICC, including the prompt execution of arrest warrants.
In March this year, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy firmly recalled, in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005) referring the situation in Darfur to the ICC, the importance of all Member States of the United Nations abiding by and implementing the Resolutions adopted by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. She recalled the fundamental principle contained in the Rome Statute of the ICC that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished. Putting an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes contributes to the prevention of such crimes.
Justice and peace indeed constitute intertwined goals, and it is both logical and necessary that the ICC and the Security Council collaborate for that purposes. We have already seen the deterrent effect of the action of the Court, and are convinced of its positive contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security. We call upon all States to cooperate with the Court.
I thank you, Mr. President.
* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
† Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.