Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on the International Criminal Court
First I would like to thank the co-chairs Switzerland and Japan for convening this meeting, and thank our excellent briefers. The establishment of the International Criminal Court is a remarkable achievement. Created as the first permanent body of its kind, it has now become one of the major pillars of the international legal system.
As the prosecutor has remarked, international humanitarian law does not apply just to states – its protections, its obligations belong to all.
This is why we urge those that have not yet done so, to accede to the statute.
But the Court has no police force and it has no prisons. It relies on the cooperation of the States Parties. The UK urges others to support the Court in these practical matters without which the process of justice will stall.
And let me translate that abstract idea into some concrete examples.
The UK’s practical support to the Court includes sentence enforcement, witness relocation, and the training of investigators in modern techniques, including the interviewing of vulnerable victims and witnesses such as children.
We have also provided expert secondees to assist the Court across the breadth of its work, and the war crimes team of our largest police service has dedicated officers for each of the situations the Court is investigating.
Now, of course, the Court must have adequate resources to undertake its work. And I want to reassure colleagues that the UK is playing its role here.
We have provided a further $3.3 million in funding over and above our budget contribution to the Court’s trust funds to enhance its technology, to digitize its evidence collation, and improve its psychosocial support to vulnerable witnesses and victims. The UK has also provided an additional $560,000 to the Trust Fund for Victims, including for those who have suffered in Uganda and in the DRC.
The atrocities that we are witnessing around the world, in Sudan, in Ukraine, and in Mali are a stark reminder that without accountability, there can be no lasting and just peace. And as Professor Akande reminded us, quoting the words of Koffi Anan, “Justice and peace are not contradictory forces.” Justice and the rule of law are fundamental for the fulfillment of everyone’s human rights. Rights that are enshrined in the UN Charter.
The International Criminal Court is a testament to its States Parties’ determination to end impunity for those responsible for the most serious international crimes.
We congratulate the Court on this anniversary and this milestone and we wish you an enhanced role in promoting justice and peace in the future.