Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Arria-Formula meeting on UNSC-ICC relations

(As delivered)
Mr. Chair,
          Japan is committed to the fight against impunity and to supporting the International Criminal Court (ICC).
While Japan believes that the ICC has contributed to steady progress in international justice since its creation, there are challenges. Today I would like to focus two issues.
          First the referrals. The resolutions that referred those situations to the Court have not been implemented appropriately by Member States and there have been instances of non-compliance. Because the Court lacks its own enforcement mechanism, the Security Council’s follow-up on non-compliance is strongly called for, so that the two referrals could achieve their intended objectives. Council members could at least begin an exchange of views at expert level to address the issue. Japan reiterates that continued failures to implement resolutions on referrals would undermine the credibility and legitimacy of the Security Council. We call upon States in question to cooperate fully with the ICC.
          Secondly, more countries should join the ICC to ensure that it can effectively promote the rule of law around the world as a more universal organ. In this context, I would like to call upon those including the members of the Council that are not parties to the Rome Statute, to ratify the Statute. Japan is determined to continue its efforts to promote accession to the ICC by non-States Parties, in particular in the Asia-Pacific region.
At the same time, the ICC and its States Parties should continue to listen to various concerns expressed and make efforts to enhance the universality of the Rome Statute, so that it can gain stronger support for its work.
          Before concluding, I would like to stress that the role of the ICC is to complement national criminal jurisdictions. The existence of the Court does not change the importance of national jurisdiction in the prosecution of serious crimes. In that context, capacity building for institutions that ensure justice and the rule of law features in aid efforts by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Japan strongly believes that those efforts will help to close the impunity gap and advance the rule of law in the long run.
          In closing, I wish to express Japan’s sincere appreciation for the work that the ICC has accomplished to date. On 17 July we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute and H.E. Mr. Manabu Horii, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs will attend the commemorative event in the Hague.  We hope that the ICC will continue to work diligently in the fight against impunity, while consolidating its credibility both inside and outside the Rome Statute system. Japan pledges to strengthen its contributions to the ICC and to continue to enhance respect for the rule of law.
I thank you.