The statement, which was held in the 6th Committee on October 15th, went as follows:
This past year has marked an important phase in the establishment of the International Criminal Court. We have seen the Court’s transition from the setting-up phase to the commencement of prosecutorial and judicial functions. The basic structures required for the Court’s initial proceedings are now in place. As regards the establishment of physical structures, the Norwegian Government wishes to commend the host nation, the Netherlands, for providing outstanding support to the Court, and for fully recognising the requirements of an independent and effective Court.
The election of the Deputy Prosecutor for Prosecutions at the Assembly of States Parties in September completes the full institutionalisation of the Court. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Ms Fatou Bensouda every success in the accomplishment of her tasks in accordance with the Statute.
More than half of the members of the United Nations have joined the International Criminal Court, and we know that other States are in the process of becoming parties to the Statute. For a multilateral treaty to gain such acceptance in only six years is a remarkable achievement. Our ultimate goal remains universality. We therefore reiterate our appeal to those States that have not yet done so to consider acceding to or ratifying the Rome Statute, thus demonstrating tangible support for the development of international criminal justice and the fight against impunity for mass atrocities.
On 21 June and 28 July 2004 the Prosecutor, Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo, announced that he had determined that there was a reasonable basis to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed since the entry into force of the Rome Statute in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Northern Uganda, respectively. It is significant that the first two situations dealt with by the Court stem from referrals by governments directly concerned with them. The Prosecutor stated at the Assembly of States Parties in September that trials in these two situations might begin in early 2005. He also announced that, in addition to the two current ICC investigations, his office was considering six other situations on four continents. These announcements clearly indicate that the ICC has become fully operational.
The beginning of Court operations has added urgency to the need for States to sign and ratify the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court. The entry into force of the Agreement on 22 July this year was an important step. However, the current status of only 16 ratifications clearly underlines how urgent it is that more States ratify this Agreement. We therefore once again appeal to all States that have not yet done so to become parties to the Agreement as a matter of priority. All States Parties must, moreover, regularly honour their financial commitments. Furthermore, we urge all States Parties to undertake an early payment of their assessed contributions.
Norway welcomes the recent signing by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President of the International Criminal Court Philippe Kirsch of the Relationship Agreement between the United Nations and the Court. The agreement establishes a legal foundation for co-operation between the two within their respective mandates. It gives the Court observer status in the UN General Assembly and will provide a permanent basis for a continuing relationship and information-sharing between the two organisations, while respecting their autonomy and confidentiality. UN humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, especially in conflict areas where atrocities are being committed, will be able to provide the Court with information and services needed. The agreement also facilitates ICC requests for testimony from UN officials.
The Norwegian Government will continue to give priority to a dialogue on issues concerning the fight against impunity for the worst international crimes. Dialogue is important not only with States that are already convinced of the need for an independent, impartial and objective International Criminal Court, but also with those that have shown a preference for addressing these issues solely within the framework of their own national systems. Norway will continue to emphasise existing international obligations to bring perpetrators of the most serious international crimes to justice, and the need to comply with them in full. Our approach is guided by the fullest respect for the integrity of the Statute, as well as the wish to demonstrate over time that this institution is also in the national interest of States that are committed to the rule of law. We are confident that the Court will demonstrate in practice that it is an independent, impartial and objective institution.
Norway was pleased that, in June this year, the Security Council did not renew the request for a resolution granting immunity from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to UN peacekeepers from a contributing State that is not a party to the Rome Statute. This development represents a significant contribution to the efforts of the UN to promote justice and the rule of law in international affairs. We look forward to future close co-operation between UN bodies and the Court when conditions so allow.
Finally, Mr Chairman, let me express once again Norway’s full and long-standing commitment to the effective operation of a credible and responsible Court that enjoys the broadest possible support of States. This is in line with our consistent approach to lasting peace and reconciliation through justice. It also reflects what we believe to be a realistic assessment of the needs of today’s interdependent world.
Thank you, Mr Chairman