Statement by Ambassador J. Enkhsaikhan in the Prepcom on the

occasion of the entry into force of the ICC

 

 

New York 1 July, 2002

 

Mr. Chairman,

         1 July 2002 will enter into history as the day when the International Criminal Court (ICC) was officially established and thus an important step was to have been made in strengthening peace, promoting and upholding international justice. 

         The entry into force of the Statute marks a new stage in the development of international criminal law and procedure. It establishes a permanent, independent international criminal court. The Statute is consistent with the U.N. Charter and is based on the principle of respect for sovereignty of States, which is manifested in the principle of complementarity of the jurisdiction. In other words the Court will take action only when national legal systems are unable or unwilling to genuinely investigate or prosecute. The Statute also creates automatic jurisdiction of the Court over specific crimes; the Court would have jurisdiction over internal armed conflicts. There are other landmark achievements in the development of international criminal law.

        Despite some weaknesses of the Statute, such as the absence of the crime of aggression from the Courtís jurisdiction, the landmark achievements would surely serve the interests of international justice by holding responsible henceforth the most heinous international criminals. The process of creation and consolidation of international criminal law and procedure is only at its initial stage.  According to the Statue, in 7 years it might be possible to include the crime of aggression in the core crimes, if member States could agree on its definition and on the conditions under which it would exercise jurisdiction over this crime. Door is also left open to add other crimes if there would be agreement among States on their definition. Court proceedings will surely enrich its practice. Though at present there are about 70 States that are parties to the Statute, judging from the speed with which many States have signed or ratified the Statute, the number of States parties to the Statute is expected to grow.

       One of the Permanent Members of the Security Council has strong concerns with the Statute. It is widely believed that its concerns that the Court might be used for unjustified, frivolous or politically motivated suits are unfounded and exaggerated. During the negotiations of the Statute, the States that had doubts about the possible impartiality of the ICC were able to reflect adequate safeguards in its provisions. The Statute is based on the complementarity principle. The only circumstance when a State might be overruled is when the Pre-Trial Chamber rules and authorizes the Prosecutor to investigate or continue the investigation. My delegation believes that too much stress on and preoccupation with theoretically possible, though highly improbable, case of possible indictment of the military and of citizens of States that are not party to the Statue, leads to loosing the sight of ICCís basic value and the very purpose of its creation. It is to be hoped that no State or group of States will take action that would undermine the principle of equality under the law, and hence weaken the Court and trust in justice. Absence of some influential States when the Court is being established is unfortunate. However that should not deter others to become parties to the Statute and make sure that the Court serves justice and sends a positive, reassuring signal to those that have doubts as to its impartiality and equally strong signal that international crimes henceforth will not go unpunished.