Statement by Amb. J. Enkhsaikhan of Mongolia in the

Plenary meeting of the Assembly of States Parties

New York 9 September, 2002

 Mr. President,

             With the adoption of the reports of the Credentials Committee and of the Working Group of the Whole, the meeting of this part of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) is drawing to a close. The work of the Assembly was held in an atmosphere of constructive cooperation. Following the previous practice, besides the States Parties to the Statute, representatives of the States that have signed the Final Act of the Rome Conference or the Statute were welcome to take an active part in the work of the Assembly. In the past few days important decisions have been taken that enable the Assembly and the Court to begin to function. As a result of the enormous work done by the delegations and dedicated experts of the Preparatory Commission, chaired ably by Amb. Kirsh of Canada and with the active input by the representatives of the civil society, this first meeting of ASP had before it a well-prepared and agreed set of documents that enabled the Assembly to proceed smoothly and expeditiously.

            One of the issues of substance on the Assemblyís agenda was agreeing on the procedure for nomination and election of judges. Thanks to the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, this question, especially the questions concerning the minimum voting requirement and of abstention, was successfully resolved through informal consultations under the chairmanship of Amb. Don MacKay of New Zeland. As a result of the decisions taken at this part of the meeting of ASP, it is possible to proceed with the formation of the main organs of the Court, election of the judges, of the prosecutor and the deputies, of the Registrar and the deputy, and thus make the Court operational. A fully operational court would be an important step in strengthening the foundations of peace through promoting and upholding international law and justice.

             The ICC is expected to be a permanent independent international court. As such, it would be functioning in a concrete international political and legal environment, and not in a vacuum, and thus its effectiveness will depend to a great extent on the prevailing environment. Therefore, in order for the Court to be effective, it would need the cooperation of all States,  parties as well as of non-parties to the Statute. The last two months have vividly demonstrated the necessity of establishing good working relationship of the Court with the Security Council, which is conferred, by Article 24 of the UN Charter, with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

         My delegation believes that given political will of States, there is ample room for fruitful and successful cooperation in the interests of international peace and security, for the cause of strengthening of the rule of law and justice. As is well know, the Statute has been drawn up in the spirit of UN Charter and is based on the principle of respect for sovereignty of States, which is manifested, inter alia, in the principle of complimentarity of the Courtís jurisdiction. From the very start of the functioning of the Court, no State should be placed in a situation when it is forced to breach its international obligations either under the Charter or the Statute. The views of the members of the international community on this vital question have been clearly expressed in July both in the Prepcom as well as in the Security Council itself. As one of the founding members of the ICC, Mongolia is interested in maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of the Court since the very first days of its existence, and to that end Mongolia will be nominating a candidate for the judge of the Court. We have faith in the integrity of the Court, since the Statute has adequate safeguards against possible abuse. We are sure that by its activities the Court will be able to dispel any lingering doubts as to its impartiality and effectiveness. However, in order to do so, the Court needs to be given the possibility to start functioning normally, without undue pressure or duress. On the other hand, ASP should be prepared, if required, to take political or even legal measures to safeguard the integrity of the Statute or its specific provisions, which is needed if the Court is to be truly impartial, apolitical, respectable, fully competent and effective.

         Much needs to be done to make ICC fully operational. Also, the Assembly  needs to address the unfinished business from the Rome Conference - defining the crime of aggression, the need for which has been underlined by many States, including Mongolia, if full justice is to be done. Given political will, in seven years time this Assembly would be able to include the crime of aggression in its jurisdiction, as envisaged in Article 5 of the Statute. My country, as party to the Statute, is prepared to work with others in making the Court fully operational and universal, in making it an effective judicial instrument for ending impunity for acts of aggression and other international crimes.

          In conclusion, allow me to congratulate you and through you all the States Parties to the Statute with the successful beginning of the work of the Assembly. My delegation has no doubt that soon many States will join the ICC, the creation of  which represents a major step towards ending impunity for genocide, war crimes and the crimes against humanity.