STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. SHIGEKI SUMI
AMBASSADOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF JAPAN
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON AGENDA ITEM 73:
REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
28 OCTOBER 2010
Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Mr. President of the International Criminal Court,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank President Sang-Hyun Song for his in-depth report on the most recent work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and congratulate the Court on its increasingly important role in the fight against impunity in the international community.
Japan believes that we are now in a crucial period for the ICC to define its role in the international community. The ICC was established in 2002 as the first permanent international criminal court in the history of the world, to which any State Party as well as the Security Council may refer a situation if it so decides. Since the establishment of the court eight years ago, three States Parties, namely, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), have referred their respective situations to the ICC, and the Security Council has referred one situation, that of Darfur, Sudan, to the Court. Today, we would like to raise several points on the work of the ICC.
First, one of the most important principles to be kept in mind is that of complementarity. Every State has the duty to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for the most serious crimes, and the role of the ICC is complementary to such national criminal jurisdiction. States Parties must do their best to exercise their national jurisdiction over a situation before referring it to the ICC.
Second, the experience of the ICC, although relatively short, has reaffirmed the importance of cooperation by States. In those cases in which full cooperation has been extended by the States concerned, the ICC is making steady progress. Where such cooperation has not been forthcoming, the ICC is faced with serious challenges. Thus, cooperation by States with the ICC is essential for the effective investigation and prosecution of cases by the Court, in particular as regards the arrest and surrender of suspects and the collection of evidence.
Third, it is indeed a matter of historical significance that we have achieved the codification of the crime of aggression at the Review Conference of the Rome Statute held in Kampala, Uganda, this year. This success notwithstanding, we must continue our efforts to avoid to the maximum extent possible legal ambiguity in the adopted amendments, taking into account the nature of international criminal justice, which requires strict legal rigor.
Finally, let me turn to the matter of universality of membership in the Rome Statute. Currently, 111 States are parties to the Rome Statute. With the statute entering into force for Saint Lucia and the Seychelles on 1 November this year, the number will rise to 113. Japan is pleased to see the steady increase in the number of States Parties. In order to enhance the role of the ICC in the international community, however, the membership of the ICC should be universal. It is therefore important that more States become parties to the Rome Statute, especially States in the Asian region, where the number of States Parties is much lower than in other regions. To achieve this aim, in March this year, Japan, in co-sponsorship with the Government of Malaysia and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), organized a round-table meeting of legal experts in Putrajaya, Malaysia, with an inaugural address by Judge Kuniko Ozaki. In the meeting, the Republic of Korea, Kenya and Japan shared their experience on the ratification of the Rome Statute with non-party States. Japan will continue its efforts to increase the number of States Parties, particularly from the Asian region, towards achieving the universality of the ICC.
Japan sincerely hopes that the points it has raised today will be given serious consideration by the ICC, the States Parties, other States and civil society.
In closing, let me express the sincere appreciation of Japan for the work that the ICC has accomplished to date. It is our hope that the ICC will continue to work diligently in the fight against impunity and to consolidate its credibility and reputation. In this regard, Japan is determined to continue and strengthen its contribution to the ICC and thus to the establishment of the rule of law throughout the international community.