13th ICC Assembly of States Parties: Statement by No Peace Without Justice

15 Dec, 2014 | Press Releases

Delivered by Alison Smith, International Criminal Justice Director, New York, 15 December 2014

Mister President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to address this Assembly of States Parties of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in the name of No Peace Without Justice. At the outset, we would like to express our thanks and appreciation for the work and leadership of Ambassador Intelmann and Judge Song, outgoing Presidents of the Assembly and Court respectively, and our congratulations to Minister Kaba on his election as ASP President. We look forward to continue working with you over the coming years in our mutual commitment to improve the work of the Court, and of the Assembly, in the service of victims and communities affected by armed conflict and political upheaval.

Mister President, this year – as in past years – sees a real need for States Parties to continue to uphold and defend the integrity of the Rome Statute. As an Assembly and as the States that have established this international criminal justice system, you have a responsibility to support it and make sure it works efficiently and effectively. In so doing, you should always have the long-term goal firmly in your minds: what actions can we take now that will help the ICC discharge its mandate to provide justice and redress both now and in the long-term.

Among other things, this means finding ways to help the Court streamline its budget while ensuring it has the resources it needs. It means adopting strong language on cooperation and supporting tools to promote cooperation, including the guidelines on non-essential contacts and a pilot coordinating mechanism of national authorities. It means supporting outreach, at a policy level and within the regular budget of the Court. It means supporting the Court to become a field-based institution, close to the people affected by its work, which will help realise efficiencies and increase the impact of the Court’s work. More broadly, it includes supporting efforts like those to have the situation in Syria referred to the ICC.

Mister President, as always, we appreciate the constructive relationship between States, the Court and civil society and we welcome this opportunity to share our views with you.  We urge this Assembly to listen closely to our Kenyan colleagues in their interventions during this general debate and in formal and informal discussions held during this Assembly. They have the pulse of victims and the community in Kenya and can give you the real picture of the impact of the challenges being faced in proceedings, and indeed at this Assembly. The voice of civil society in countries affected by the ICC’s work is critical for your discussions.

Mister President, this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The CRC is an important landmark in the protection of the human rights of children, not least for its recognition of the child as a rights holder, and is an important reference for the International Criminal Court and for this Assembly. The CRC, to which you are all States Parties, requires you to have the best interests of the child as a primary consideration in decisions you take that have an impact on children. As you know, children are disproportionately affected by armed conflict and political upheaval. They are direct victims of crimes, indirect victims as their social fabric is ripped apart and forced to become perpetrators of some of the most serious crimes we can imagine. UNICEF estimates that more than 3 million Syrian children are affected by the conflict, which continues to rage in part because of impunity. Children make up large percentages of the populations in each of the ICC’s situation countries and in countries under preliminary examination. The decisions you take have an effect and an impact on all of these children. We urge you to have this in mind during your discussions and decision-making over the coming week.

Thank you.


NPWJ and the ICC
No Peace Without Justice, which is a founding member of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and which has been one of the organisations at the forefront of promoting the establishment and entry into force of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) and continues to work for its universal ratification, has participated in every session of the ASP since its first session in 2002, the year the ICC was established.

For further information, contact Alison Smith on asmith@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3915.