President of the International Criminal Court addresses the United Nations General Assembly: "international support for the ICC has continued to grow"
On 26 October 2011, the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Sang-Hyun Song presented the ICC’s seventh annual report to the United Nations General Assembly. “With two new investigations and several new cases, the Court is busier than ever”, he told the Assembly, adding that international support for the ICC had continued to grow as the Court’s membership reached 119. Stressing the common goals of the ICC and the United Nations, President Song appealed to all UN member states to “stand united behind the international efforts to suppress the gravest crimes known to humanity”.
President Song informed the Assembly that the ICC’s first trial concluded in August and the judgement in the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, charged with the use of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was expected before the end of the year. Two other trials are underway, and preparations for a fourth trial have begun.
The ICC President thanked France for its cooperation in arresting Callixte Mbarushimana, alleged to be responsible for crimes committed in the Kivus region of Democratic Republic of the Congo. He further stated that proceedings in the situation in Kenya had progressed significantly in the past year. The six suspects had complied with summonses issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber in March and voluntarily appeared before the Court. Rulings on whether the cases should proceed to trial are pending.
President Song informed the Assembly that the number of situations under ICC investigation had risen from five to seven. Following the unanimous United Nations Security Council referral of the situation in Libya to the ICC Prosecutor, three warrants of arrest had been issued by the Court. Earlier this month, the Court’s judges authorised the Prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes in the wake of last year’s presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire.
The ICC President expressed deep concern over the fact that the ICC’s arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and three other alleged commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army in the situation in Uganda, for Bosco Ntaganda in the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the arrest warrants for Omar Al-Bashir, Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb in the situation in Darfur, Sudan, had been outstanding for several years. “I implore States to redouble their efforts to bring the persons in question to justice”, said President Song.
Stressing the important role of the Trust Fund for Victims associated with the ICC, President Song said that the first-ever judicial decisions by the ICC on reparations to victims might be issued in the coming year. He underlined the importance of the Court’s involvement with the communities affected by the crimes under its jurisdiction and remarked that the legal assistance provided by the ICC had made it possible for thousands of victims to participate in the court proceedings through their lawyers. He added: “I have personally had the privilege to participate in the ICC’s Outreach activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. I was deeply moved by the victims’ struggle to rebuild their lives, and their cries for relief and justice”.
President Song warmly welcomed Grenada, Tunisia, the Philippines, the Maldives and Cape Verde that had joined the Rome Statute this year. He added that the States Parties will take decisions of particular significance at the forthcoming session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in December, electing for the first time since the Court’s establishment both a Prosecutor and six new Judges. This will be the opening of a new chapter for the ICC, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary on 1st July 2012.
The ICC President discussed the global efforts to protect human rights and to promote the rule of law and stressed that international peace and security, as well as the prevention and punishment of serious international crimes, are common objectives to both the ICC and the United Nations. “The UN and the international community have recognized that justice is an integral element of conflict resolution”, he declared, adding that for justice to be effective, it must take its own course, without interference and political considerations.
President Song finished by appealing to all UN member states to stand united behind the international efforts to suppress the gravest crimes known to humanity. “The Rome Statute is based on common values of fundamental importance – peace, security and the well-being of the children, men and women of the world. By joining this community, each state adds a brick to a wall that protects future generations from terrible atrocities”, he said.
Earlier this week, President Song met with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to thank him for the UN’s continued, invaluable support to the ICC and to discuss ways to further develop the cooperation between the two organizations. He will hold a number of bilateral meetings with UN member states before finishing his visit to New York on Friday.
Seventh Annual Report of the ICC to the United Nations
For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or + 31 (0)6 46 44 89 38 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.