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Security Council’s open debate on ‘Peace and Justice with a Special Focus on the Role of the International Criminal Court’

Submitted by on 26/10/2012 – 12:31 pmOne Comment

 The Security Council’s open debate on ‘Peace and Justice with a Special Focus on the Role of the International Criminal Court’, convened by Guatemala (holding the Presidency of the Security Council), took place on 17 October 2012. In addressing this event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed out that,

The Court and the Council can support each other in building local justice responses and in strengthening the rule of law. The Council and the Court frequently operate in the same political space. They share a common interest. The Court can help advance the purposes of the United Nations, above all “to maintain international peace and security”. And this Council — by understanding and respecting the work of the Court—can advance its own cause and better discharge its responsibilities. In this new age of accountability, in this period of growing demands for justice, let us do our utmost to draw solid lessons from a decade of advances and challenges. Let us do everything we can to see the Council and the Court work together to deliver both justice and peace (full speech here).

Addressing the meeting were also the President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Sang-Hyun Song (for the first time), the Director of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division in the Office of the Prosecutor, Mr Phakiso Mochochoko and Ms. Tiina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Statute (see also ICC press release ICC-CPI-20121018-PR844 here).

President Song noted that,

For the ICC to effectively deal with situations referred by the Council under Chapter VII, it  needs to be able to count on the full and continuing cooperation of all UN members, whether  they are parties to the Rome Statute or not. This includes not only cooperation in investigations  and the gathering of evidence, but also in areas such as the execution of arrest warrants and  tracing the assets of suspects.  In making any future referrals, it would be very helpful if the  Security Council could underline this obligation of full cooperation, without which it is very  difficult for the ICC to discharge the mandate the Council has given it (full speech  here).

For the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), Mr. Mochochoko, noted that,

The Office of the Prosecutor can make a substantial contribution, in proactively collecting information and monitoring situations under preliminary examination, and in investigating and prosecuting those most responsible for the most serious crimes. But once its judicial process has resulted in requests for, and the issuance of, arrest warrants by the Court’s Judges, it is up to the international community to act.   We must find the necessary consensus to show that we are serious about the threat that these serious crimes pose to international peace and security, and that we have and will use the tools necessary to put these crimes to an end (full speech here).

Ms. Tiina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, drew attention to a critical issue for the ICC at the moment. In her words,

The 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 (full speech here).

There was a lively discussion and many interventions from State representatives who made suggestions for improving the bodies’ relationship and for bolstering and balancing common efforts towards achieving peace and justice (for a fuller account of these interventions see here).

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