Let me start by expressing Norway’s continuing support and full recognition of the work of the International Criminal Court during the last year. Norway welcomes the ICC’s sixth annual report and would like to thank the President of the Court, Judge Sang - Hyun Song, for his detailed and informative report and presentation here today.
I would like to focus on three issues that are all significant for the Court’s work. These are (1) the cooperation of States Parties and other States, (2) the universality of the Rome Statute and (3) the Review Conference held in Kampala in June this year.
Norway welcomes the arrest of Callixte Mbarushimana by French authorities earlier this month. Over the past few years, Norway has increased its efforts to strengthen the protection of civilians, especially women and children, against the atrocities of war. We have had a particular focus on the widespread sexual violence that has been perpetrated in connection with the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Sexual violence constitutes one of the most serious contemporary international crimes. The arrest of Mr Mbarushimana is a crucial step in efforts to prosecute the alleged perpetrators of the sexual crimes committed in the DRC.
However, nine ICC arrest warrants remain outstanding. They pertain to the situations in Darfur, Uganda and the DRC. This is a matter of grave concern to Norway, and brings me to the issue of state cooperation.
The ICC depends on the cooperation of the States Parties in particular. The arrest of Mr Mbarushimana was a joint effort by many parties, including France, the DRC, Rwanda, and Germany. It is an excellent example of successful cooperation between states. All States Parties must do their utmost to provide the ICC with the best possible working conditions. Norway expects states with legal obligations under the Statute, or that have entered into cooperation agreements with the ICC, to fulfil their obligations and to demonstrate their commitment to justice in practice.
We therefore urge all States Parties concerned to fulfil their responsibility to make the outstanding arrest warrants effective. In the situation regarding Darfur, we call on all states, and, of course, on the Sudanese authorities, to cooperate fully with the Court and to comply with their legal obligations under Security Council resolution 1593 (2005). We would in this connection also encourage the Security Council to consider measures that would ensure compliance with resolution 1593 (2005).
Turning briefly to the issue of universality, we are pleased to note that with the entry into force of the Rome Statute for Moldova on 1 January 2011, there will be 114 States Parties to the Statute. The number of States Parties is rising year by year. It is remarkable that so many states, from all parts of the world, have ratified the Statute in such a short time. Norway strongly hopes that the ICC will enjoy universal adherence in the future. We believe that the long-term interests of all nations, irrespective of size, region or political orientation, are best served by strengthening the rule of law and promoting justice.
We would like to thank the Government of Uganda and all other contributors for a successful Review Conference. In his opening statement in Kampala, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs said that we should review the Rome Statute – but also celebrate - the ICC and the political, diplomatic and legal work it took to create it. The Conference showed us that there is still a strong political and diplomatic commitment to further the legal work to strengthen international criminal justice. In addition to reviewing articles 8 and 124, the Conference amended the Rome Statute to include a definition of the crime of aggression and the conditions under which the Court could exercise jurisdiction over that crime.
We are furthermore pleased to see the Norwegian proposal on enforcement of sentences materialised in a resolution that calls upon states to indicate to the Court their willingness to accept sentenced persons in their prison facilities. The resolution also confirmed that a sentence of imprisonment can be served in prison facilities made available by an international or regional organisation, mechanism or agency. Further, we also welcome the resolutions on stocktaking of international criminal justice as well as the Kampala Declaration. In the Declaration, State Parties reaffirmed their commitment to the Rome Statute and its full implementation, as well as to its universality and integrity.
On that note, I would like to reiterate Norway’s firm and long-standing commitment to the Rome Statute, and to an effective and credible International Criminal Court. We believe that the ICC should enjoy the broadest possible support from all states. We all share the universal values attached to the protection of human dignity. This protection is enhanced by taking concerted action to suppress the most serious crimes affecting the international community.