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UNGA: Mentions of the ICC in Official Statements, Excerpts of Speeches
01 Oct 2008
Please find below a message related to the General Debate of the UN General
Assembly that was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 23-29 September 2008.
In this digest you will find explicit mentions of the ICC in official statements at the General Assembly from 26-29 September 2008, including the excerpts of speeches by the following countries (in order of delivery date): Croatia, Italy, Belgium, Syria, Algeria, Lesotho, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Yemen, Botswana, Denmark, Ireland, Ethiopia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sweden.
Our previous digests circulated on this same subject contained ICC mentions in speeches from 25-26 September 2008; these digests are accessible online at http://coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=ga
For further information on the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, visit:
In total during the General Debate, 34 States made specific reference to the ICC in official statements. 25 States representatives pledged their full support for the ICC: Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. In addition, 9 States made reference to the ICC in the context of deferral of the situation in the Darfur, Sudan. Mauritania, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tanzania and Yemen specifically mentioned the Court while Algeria, Ethiopia, The Gambia and Oman made implicit references to the Court in discussing deferral.
Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below),
which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and
current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition,
however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.
OFFICIAL STATEMENTS MENTIONING THE ICC AT THE 63rd UNGA
1. Croatia, speech by H.E. Mr. Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, 25 September 2008
“...Croatia welcomes joint international efforts to address the question of flagrant violations to international humanitarian law and human rights through established international mechanisms and institutions like the International Criminal Court. The ICC provides a vital recourse to justice in situations where national governments cannot or will not address these issues themselves.
Human rights and the rule of law are essential building blocks for a
more peaceful, just and prosperous world. [...]”
2. Belgium, speech by H.E. Mr. Karel De Gucht, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, 27 September 2008, http://un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/belgium_fr.pdf
“...In this context I want to talk about combating impunity. You cannot have lasting
peace without justice. It is the guiding principle of our foreign policy and this is
achieved by bolstering the rule of law and justice at the national level before and
during and after a crisis. For the gravest crimes we actively support the development
of international criminal law. This is not the time to fail to dispel any doubts
regarding our active support for the International Criminal Court, by putting forward
some due other more regional solutions, this is particularly true when the Court is
preparing its first trials...”
3. Syria, speech by H.E. Mr. Walid Al-Moualem, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic, 27 September 2008, http://un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/syria_en.pdf
“Syria supports the efforts aimed at guaranteeing Sudan’s unity and territorial integrity
and promoting peace and stability therein. In this context, we are totally opposed to
the decision by the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court and call on
the Security Council to suspend it with a view to creating the favorable conditions for
pursuing the initiative endorsed by the Arab League Council of ministers on August 9
2008. The Initiative called for the establishment of Arab ministerial committee under
the chairmanship of Qatar and entrusting it with overseeing comprehensive peace
talks between the Government of Sudan and the armed groups in Darfur. The
committee will be co-sponsoring these negotiations in cooperation and coordination
with the international mediator of the African Union and the UN representative. It
will also seek to improve the humanitarian situation and promote development in
Darfur. Syria which is a member in this committee calls on all the states concerned
and on the international community to support the committee in its efforts to allow it
to undertake the mandate with which it was entrusted. In this context, Syria
welcomes the normalization of the Sudanese-Chadian relations and believes that it is
a positive contribution to the solution of the Darfur question.”
4. Algeria, speech by H.E. Mr. Mourad Medelci, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, 27 September 2008, http://un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/algeria_fr.pdf
“We believe, it is of the greatest importance to refrain from any action likely to thwart
current peace efforts or to undermine the unity of the Sudan, its territorial integrity
and its sovereignty. Therefore we must mobilize the international community to
promote the political process which remains the only way to ensure the Sudanese
people the restoration of peace and national reconciliation. In this regard we reiterate
our support for the actions and proposals of the Arab League, the African Union, the
Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Movement of Non-aligned countries
calling on the Security Council to freeze the decision of the Prosecutor General of the
International Criminal Court and to act to promote and to consolidate the dynamic of
peace and national reconciliation....”
5. Lesotho, speech by H.E. Mr. Mohlabi Tsekoa, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Relations of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 27 September 2008, http://un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/lesotho_en.pdf
“...It is a trite fact that the need for the application of this principle [“Universal Jurisdiction”] by individual states has been rendered unnecessary by the creation of the International Criminal Court. If a state is unable or unwilling to deal with certain grave situations, such a matter should be referred to the International Criminal Court, which will deal with it impartially. Even the United Nations Security Council does refer certain situations to the ICC. We need only emphasize that, the ICC was created by this world body and must enjoy the support and trust of the entire membership of the United Nations. It must also be immune from any external influences...”
6. Trinidad and Tobago, speech by H.E. The Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 27 September 2008
“...In the context of our efforts to address the challenge, we also wish to again call for
consideration to be given to the inclusion of international drug trafficking as one of
the crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. It is of great
significance to us that the very year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the adoption
of the Rome Statute of the ICC, we also commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the
adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since its establishment, the
ICC has been able to attract one hundred States Parties, issue arrest warrants and
begin trials of persons accused of committing crimes of major concern to the
international community. The perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and
war crimes show flagrant disregard for the human rights of their victims, as well as
human rights law and humanitarian law and should not go unpunished....”
7. Uruguay, speech by H.E. Mr. Gonzalo Fernández, Minister for External Relations of Uruguay, 27 September 2008, http://www.un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/uruguay_es.pdf
“...The creation of the International Criminal Court is an essential contribution to the process of progressive development of international law and an event of enormous importance, both from the legal and political point of view. In 2006, Uruguay adopted a law which puts our country along the path of full cooperation with the ICC. Respectfully, we call upon the international community as a whole to do the same and prevent genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, from going unpunished.”
8. Czech Republic, speech by H.E. M. Karel Schwarzenberg, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, 27 September 2008
“...The Czech Republic considers international criminal justice to be one of the pillars
that uphold the basic values of the United Nations. The ad hoc tribunals for the
former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda as well as the Security Council decision of 2005
to refer the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court must be supported
in order to end impunity for the most serious crimes. Let me recall the Secretary
General’s commitment at the opening of this session: ‘We have it in our power to
combat impunity. And therefore, we must.’
9. Liechtenstein, speech by H. E. Ms. Rita Kieber-Beck, Minister for Foreign Affairs, 29 September 2008, http://www.un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/liechtenstein_en.pdf
“...All of our countries and the Security Council in particular are also called to task in the fight against impunity. Since the 1990’s, the council has adopted a number of landmark decisions to enforce international criminal law, including the establishment of international and mixed tribunals. The council also has an important role to play in connection with the ICC, which deal with the most serious crimes under international law. The council has done so in adopting resolution 1593, and it is essential that it continue exercising it powers under the Rome Statute responsibly. The ICC is the most important achievement in international law in decades. Now we must make it work in practice and give it the necessary political support. The success of the ICC will be the yardstick in the fight against impunity. If we want to win that fight, we must show resolve by supporting the Court.
60 years ago, this Assembly adopted the Genocide Convention - a crime over which the ICC was given jurisdiction fifty years later. The Convention was born out of the desire to prevent the recurrence of genocide, yet it failed to achieve this purpose on several occasions thereafter. The rallying cry “Never Again!” can only be used so often before it loses credibility. In that spirit, all of us agreed to the concept of R2P when we met at Summit level three years ago. For us and many others, this was one of the most significant gains in the Summit Outcome, which was otherwise a mixed bag. Still, we are struggling with the challenge to make the concept widely understood and to apply it in practice. R2P is a narrow concept that is limited to clearly defined cases of genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. And it is based on the sovereign responsibility of States to protect their own populations as well as the UN Charter. We must maintain this conceptual clarity and provide for consistent implementation of the Summit decision....”
10. Yemen, speech by H.E. Mr. Abubakr Al-Qibri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yemen, 29 September 2008, http://www.un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/yemen_ar.pdf
“...Yemen is deeply concerned by the attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Sudan and we would reaffirm the importance of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sudan and the need to respect its independence.
We call on the international community to fully carry out its responsibilities in the area of Darfur and also we wish to encourage dialogue between the Sudanese government and the various factions, considering any party that rejects dialogue and cooperation as a terrorist entity imperiling peace and security.
We also welcome the African and Arab efforts to resolve the problem of Darfur, and to put an end to the negative impact of the decisions of the Prosecutor of the ICC. We once again we express out repudiation for the policies that are contrary to human rights but these matters should not be used as an excuse or pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of a country. These matters affect all countries of the region and jeopardize the peace and security of the region....”
11. Botswana, speech by H.E. Mr. Phandu T.C. Skelemani, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Botswana, 29 September 2008, http://www.un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/botswana_en.pdf
“...[W]e are conscious of the need for international cooperation in the promotion of human rights. It is for this reason that Botswana is a State Party to a number of human rights instruments including the Rome Statute on the establishment of the ICC.
We fully support the work of the Court. As a country that strongly believes in the rule of law, we are convinced that there should be no political interference in the work of the Court. The ICC was established with the support of African States. We felt that it was necessary to address problems that confront our continent. The Court is meant to serve a specific purpose and there should be no exception as to what it can or cannot do....”
12. Denmark, speech by H.E. Mr. Carsten Staur, Chairman of the Delegation of Denmark, 29 September, http://www.un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/denmark_en.pdf
“...In Africa, the deployment of UNAMID in Darfur has been delayed due to various factors, including actions by the Government of Sudan, allowing attacks and killings to go on. Those responsible for the grave crimes committed in Darfur must be held accountable. Fighting impunity is a prerequisite to sustainable peace. We thus stress the need to comply with the Security Council resolution 1593 and express our strong support for the ICC....”
13. Ireland, speech by H.E. Mr. Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland, 29 September 2008, http://www.un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/ireland_en.pdf
“...This is also the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC. It has already carved out a vital role for itself in bringing an end to impunity, and in demanding that the rule of law be upheld. Ireland remains strongly supportive of the ICC and its mandate, and urges all Member States to cooperate fully with its work.
The situation in Sudan and the tragic suffering of the people of Darfur, urgently demands our attention. […] A culture of impunity cannot prevail. Those responsible for human rights abuses in Darfur must be brought to justice. The Government in Khartoum must face up to its responsibilities to protect its citizens, to provide security and to ensure justice is done....”
14. Ethiopia, speech by H.E. Mr. Seyoum Mesfin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, 29 September 2008,
“...Ethiopia fully supports the African Union position on Darfur and the handling of the ICC-Sudan issue....”
Canada, speech by H.E. Mr. Leonard Edwards, Deputy Foreign Minister of Canada, 29 September 2008, http://un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/canada.pdf
“...With a contribution of over $477 million since 2006, Canada remains deeply committed to building sustainable peace in Sudan and alleviating the suffering of those affected by conflict. Canada’s support for peacekeeping operations in Sudan includes the deployment of personnel, the loan of armoured vehicles, and a large voluntary financial contribution. Canada underscores the importance of full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and calls on Sudanese authorities and the rebel movements to end the violence in Darfur, to facilitate the deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, cooperate with the International Criminal Court, and to respect human rights....”
15. New Zealand, speech by H.E. Ms. Rosemary Banks, Chairperson of the Delegation of New Zealand, 29 September 2008,
“...On the African continent the humanitarian disaster caused by conflict in Darfur is unacceptable. The targeting of civilians, by state and non-state parties, is a flagrant breach of international human rights law. The widespread absence of justice and accountability for such human rights violations, and the impunity this promotes, represent major obstacles to improving the human rights situation in Darfur. […]
New Zealand remains a strong supporter of efforts to protect and maintain the international rule of law. To this end, one of the most significant advances in recent times has been the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court.
When the ICC was first established, it was widely considered to herald the beginning of a new era in international criminal justice. The Court has now reached a crucial stage in its development – and it has become clear that the establishment of a global justice system brings with it many challenges. It is of the utmost importance that states rise to these challenges. To fail to do so would be a betrayal of the victims of egregious crimes.
New Zealand urges States to make every effort to ensure the independence and success of the Court. The Court needs our full support and cooperation to ensure that the individuals responsible for the most serious violations of international law are brought to justice without delay....”
16. Switzerland, speech by H.E. Mr. Peter Maurer, Chairman of the Delegation of Switzerland, 29 September 2008, http://un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/switzerland.pdf
“...Justice is a requirement for lasting peace. Or in other words peace and impunity are incompatible in the long run. The assert of Charles Taylor and Radovan Karadzic and their extradition to The Hague have once again confirmed the benefits of international criminal justice. Alleged war criminals must not be allowed to remain at large without being brought before a court. They must answer for their acts in a fair trial. This is the preventive effect of the international criminal justice system, an effect that should not be underestimated. This is why Switzerland particularly supports the work of the International Criminal Court and advocates its independence....”
17. Mauritania, speech by H.E. Mr. Mohamed Ould Tolba, Chairman of the Delegation of Mauritania, 29 September 2008,
“...As regards the question of the Sudan, we totally reject the latest developments specially the request of the Prosecutor of the Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for the President of the Sudan because we believe this would jeopardize peace efforts in that country and could add more tensions to a sensitive region of the world....”
18. Democratic Republic of Congo, speech by H.E. Mr. Atoki Ileka, Chairman of the Delegation of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 29 September 2008,
“What we need most of all however, and what the people of Congo ardently desire, and which we should guarantee to them is the right of justice. This is no more or no less than putting an end to impunity. How can we prevent a repetition of offences if, thanks to political horse-trading, criminals are not prosecuted? How can we put an end to the rape of women and girls and other massive violations of human rights, if the warlords are exempt from legal prosecution because they are supposedly militarily strong or could harm the situation in general?
The logic of civilized society is specifically to counter to law of force with the force of the law. In the DRC, we have experienced the unique role that justice plays as a factor for social agreement, reconciliation, peace, security and stability. It is thanks to justice that we have been able to bring peace to Ituri and Northern Katanga, and it is with the support of justice that we expect to bring peace throughout our country. National justice preferably. International justice if necessary. But justice in any case is a fundamental requirement. And it is in this context that we should place the efforts of the national reconstruction of the judicial system and it is in the same framework that we are cooperating with the ICC....”
19. Sweden, speech by H.E. Mr. Anders Lidén, Chairman of the Delegation of Sweden, 29 September 2008, http://un.org/ga/63/generaldebate/pdf/sweden.pdf
“...The fight against impunity has to continue. We must support the International Criminal Court. Bringing to justice those responsible for the most serious crimes is vital to building sustainable peace. At the same time, justice should be pursued in a manner that supports peace processes....States have a responsibility to protect people within their own borders from massive violations of their human rights. If a state is not capable of doing so, it should ask the international community – the United Nations or regional organizations – for help. And we all have to be ready to assist. Not long ago, the UN and the African Union were able to support Kenya to prevent a frightening crisis from turning into the worst possible nightmare.
If a state is unwilling to protect people within its borders, the Security Council has to face its responsibility to protect. We need a Security Council that is ready to shoulder this responsibility and to work together, because unilateral action might run the risk of aggravating the problem and undermining international law and legitimacy...”