Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
On Agenda Item 74:
Report of the International Criminal Court
United Nations General Assembly
6 November 2012
Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Mr. President of the International Criminal Court,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I thank President Sang-Hyun Song for his comprehensive and in-depth report on the invaluable work of the International Criminal Court (ICC). My delegation would like to extend its appreciation for his able leadership in the Court.
Japan attaches great importance to the central role of the ICC in ending impunity and enhancing the rule of law at the international level. This role of the ICC is closely linked to the maintenance of international peace and security through achieving justice and preventing heinous crimes and other grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. It is recalled that there is now a serious call for a referral of the situation in Syria to the ICC.
This year, marking the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute, the ICC made significant progress. In March, it issued the very first judgment in the Lubanga case in which a war lord accused of recruiting and using child soldiers was convicted and sentenced. Japan welcomes this significant step toward a fully operational international criminal justice system and the development of international criminal law.
In the past 10 years, the ICC has enjoyed increased credibility in the world. As noted in the President’s report, the number of States Parties to the Rome Statute increased from 115 to 121 during its reporting period. Japan especially would like to extend a warm welcome to the Republic of Vanuatu which became the new 18th Asia-Pacific member of the ICC at the end of 2011. Japan renews its commitment to continue encouraging the Asia-Pacific States which have not yet done so to ratify or accede to the Statute by extending assistance for the development of legal systems and human resources.
While commending these invaluable achievements that the Court has made, my delegation notes that the 10-year experience left us some challenges we may need to tackle over the next decade. One of the major challenges the ICC has faced is how to gain states’ cooperation in executing its mandate given by the Rome Statute. The effective implementation of the Statute can only be realized based on full cooperation by states. Japan calls upon all States Parties to fully cooperate with the ICC in accordance with their obligation under the Rome Statute. In this regard, I would like to express sincere appreciation to H.E. Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute for her tireless efforts in addressing this issue.
In cases where situations in a non-State Party are referred to the Court by Security Council resolutions, cooperation between the Court and the Council is crucial. In this connection, it is recalled that the ICC experienced the cases of Darfur and Libya. A lack of cooperation can not only cause the failure to indict a perpetrator of serious crimes, but also undermine the Court’s credibility by betraying the expectation of the victims and the international community. Japan also expects dialogue and cooperation to deepen between the Court and the Security Council, including on the financial implications from the Council’s referral.
Another element I want to point out is the efficiency of the Court. Despite its sanctity of judicial independence, the Court is not immune from examination of its management. We must address this issue with a view to striking a good balance between the need for strict financial discipline and for procedural legitimacy required for a criminal institution. In this regard, Japan welcomes the fact that States Parties are engaged in constructive discussions on the budget in preparation for the coming Assembly of States Parties and would like to continue to assist the efforts of the Court to improve its management as the leading contributor.
Finally, Mr. President, Japan hopes the ICC will continue its work in the fight against impunity and further enhance its credibility. Japan is determined to continue its support of the ICC and contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.
I thank you.