Security Council Arria Formula Meeting: UNSC - ICC Relations: achievements, challenges and synergies

Statement by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York

New York, 6 July 2018

On behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the Prosecutor, Madam Fatou Bensouda, Stephen Mathias, ambassador Konfourou, Special Prosecutor Muntazini Mukimapa, and President Kwon for their informative briefings.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a proud host and a firm supporter of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. We feel that the ICC is the realization of the conviction that those responsible for the most serious crimes have to face justice.

In my statement I will highlight three points.

  • Prevention;
  • Accountability;
  • Assuming responsibility.

1. Prevention

My first point: prevention. We are convinced that in the past 20 years we have seen the deterrent effect of the Rome Statute. The Court has demonstrated that anyone can be subjected to the watchful eye of the Court. No one is above the law. And the Secretary-General has mentioned a number of times that prevention is one of his key priorities in his tenure and we are convinced that the ICC is a key to prevention of mass atrocities.

Preventing conflict and protecting populations at risk of mass atrocities are goals of both the ICC and the Security Council. The prevention of such crimes and insistence on international accountability contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.

2. Accountability

The second point I would like to make is about accountability. We are convinced that there is no sustainable peace without accountability. And there is no sustainable peace to be build on impunity.

In our view, the ICC has a key role, as a Court of last resort, as others have said, called upon only where States are unable or unwilling to do so.

We regret that not all Member States of the UN are States Parties to the Rome Statute. We need universalisation. When there is no full universalisation, it gives a responsibility to the Council to provide accountability. It has done so in the past and the fact that referral has not been done consistently in the past and also is not being done consistently at this moment, we think is regrettable. Especially Myanmar and Syria are cases in point.

When we had earlier referrals in Darfur and Libya we felt that the message that the Council sent was very clear: justice will be delivered, and perpetrators will be held to account.

3. Responsibility

This brings me to my third point: the need to assume responsibility. Because when there are referrals of this Council, the responsibility of this Council does not stop. On the contrary. It is the responsibility of the Council to follow up on its referrals.  

The ICC needs the Council’s enforcement power. And at a minimum, we feel very strongly that the Council should discuss any findings of non-cooperation. The Council should determine which of the tools it has at its disposal for the most appropriate response. It could be the establishment of a working group to monitor and follow up on that case. It could be a formal correspondence. It could be a formal meeting of the Council with the country involved.

But if the Council does not takes action on non‑compliance, we feel that the credibility and reputation of the Security Council is damaged. And the functioning of the ICC therefore in that context is limited.

So we feel very strongly that the Council should protect its important Court, it should help to reach its full potential. Furthermore, it is important that we should prevent any attempt to weaken previously agreed language in Resolutions.


Coming back to my final point. If the ICC has the ability to scrutinize situations all around world, justice can be brought to those who are in need of it. We therefore urge all states to become a State Party to the Rome Statute and achieve full universalisation. We feel very strongly that this Council should live up to its full potential and to its obligations.

Thank you.

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