Report on the ICC

Statement by Karel J.G. van Oosterom

Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

NEW YORK, 4 November 2019

Thank you Mr President,


The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the statement of the EU.

We would also express our appreciation and gratitude to President Eboe-Osuji for his presentation.

The annual report on the ICC gives a clear overview of the considerable work done in the reporting period as well as of the challenges ahead.

Mr. President, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a proud host and a firm supporter of the International Criminal Court.

Given the great importance of the topic at hand, please allow me to address the following three issues:

  1. The fight against impunity,
  2. Strengthening the Court, and
  3. Cooperation
  1. The fight against impunity 

The fight against impunity is one of the top priorities of the Dutch foreign policy. Perpetrators of mass atrocities have to be brought to justice.

Unfortunately, accountability and international criminal law are under severe pressure and face political resistance at the moment.

The Security Council is too often blocked by the veto on these issues.
Because of the use of the veto, it has failed to hold perpetrators of mass atrocities accountable in situations where it is most needed.
Syria is a regrettable example of this.

The ICC is a Court established by states.
Unfortunately, not all states are willing to join our fight against impunity yet.

We continue to strive for universality, but in the meantime we cannot sit back and wait.

We need to make sure that the ICC is doing the best it can.

That brings me to my second point.

2.    Strengthening the Court

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a staunch supporter of the Court.
This Court is the embodiment of the idea that the most serious crimes are of concern to the international community as a whole.
Those crimes should not go unpunished.

The International Criminal Court is an indispensable organization in the fight against impunity
Therefore we need to strengthen it.

We must make it more efficient, with high quality judgements and the ability to strengthen itself against pressure from non-states parties.
We cannot allow non-State parties to block the quest for accountability for the worst international crimes which the Court prosecutes.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is in favor of measures to strengthen the Court through the Assembly of States Parties.
For example by a stricter scrutiny of the suitability of all candidates before the election of judges takes place.
Furthermore, we support a comprehensive review of the functioning of the Court by independent experts.
This way we will receive a clear view of where the current biggest challenges lie and what the best ways are to address these.

3. Cooperation

Mr President, that brings me to my third point: cooperation.

We need to look more critically at our cooperation as States and UN organs with the Court in executing its mandate.

In our view, all States should cooperate with the Court.
They should promptly execute outstanding arrest warrants in line with their obligations under the Rome Statute or Security Council resolutions.

In addition, voluntary cooperation by States is also vital for the effective and efficient functioning of the Court.

A practical way to support the Court in this respect is through the conclusion of framework agreements regarding witness relocation, release of persons, and the enforcement of sentences. 

Also, findings of non-compliance should be addressed through concrete action, by States Parties and by the Security Council.

Furthermore, we call upon the Security Council to follow up on the situations it has referred to the ICC and to strengthen cooperation. 

States Parties need to support and facilitate the work of the Court throughout the various stages of its judicial proceedings.

It will be key to address all of the above as soon as possible, with a view to take a specific decision at the ASP of 2020 here in New York.
Then we also have to elect a new prosecutor and 6 new judges.

I hope that all states can get behind the measures needed to strengthen this important institution.
I call on UN Member States who have not done so to ratify the Rome Statute and join us in our fight against impunity. Our ambition is universality: all UN Member States should become States Parties.

Mr President,

Finally, it is my honour to introduce the draft resolution contained in document A/74/L.8.
The draft resolution welcomes the most recent report of the Court on its activities.
The draft resolution also acknowledges the role of the International Criminal Court in a multilateral system that aims to end impunity, to promote the rule of law, to promote and encourage respect for human rights, to achieve sustainable peace and to further the development of nations.
All in accordance with international law and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Mr President,

I present the draft resolution to the General Assembly for adoption without a vote. I sincerely thank all the states that have co-sponsored the draft resolution. The number of co-sponsors is a clear signal of the importance members attribute to the yearly report of the ICC.

Thank you very much Mr President.