On 9 July 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Defence of Belgium, HE Philippe Goffin, visited the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court") to meet with the President of the Court, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji and the Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
"Belgium reiterates its unwavering support for the International Criminal Court," Minister HE Philippe Goffin stated. "As an independent and impartial institution the Court plays an indispensable role in the fight against impunity. In times of measures being taken against the Court, we wish to stress our strong commitment to preserve the integrity and independence of the Court and its officials," he added.
ICC President, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji thanked Minister Goffin for Belgium's continuing support for the ICC. "The Court is deeply appreciative of Belgium's strong, longstanding support that remained unwavering indeed for the International Criminal Court, which is a key pillar of the permanent international order aimed at ensuring accountability for the gravest crimes, contributing to their prevention and providing justice to victims," ICC President Eboe-Osuji said. "That support is more critical than ever as the Court faces unprecedented attacks for conducting its mandate of justice, on behalf of the 123 States that are parties to the Rome Statute."
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence of Belgium Philippe Goffin and ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda ©ICC-CPI
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda expressed her sincere appreciation for Belgium's strong and principled support for her Office's independent work and mandate, including in the context of the Assembly of States Parties and her briefings before the UN Security Council. "Since ratifying the Rome Statute over two decades ago, Belgium has been a consistent supporter of the ICC in word and deed, and we are grateful for that sincere commitment to international criminal justice," the Prosecutor stated at the meeting.
"The ICC, as a central pillar of a rules-based international order, must be allowed the proper space to carry out its crucial mandate. There is a shared responsibility to ensure we do not disappoint the victims of atrocity crimes who look to the ICC as a beacon of hope where justice has otherwise fallen silent - hope that the cold calculus of international politics does not abandon them, or worse, undermine humanity's shared values and common yearning for peace, stability and the protective embrace of the law against the world's gravest crimes." Prosecutor Bensouda vowed continued close cooperation with the Kingdom of Belgium in the service of the Rome Statute.
Belgium signed the Rome Statute - the Court's founding treaty on 10 September 1998 and deposited its instrument of ratification of the Statute on 28 June 2000. Minister Goffin's visit to the ICC highlights Belgium's support to the Court and the joint efforts deployed in the fight against the impunity of the perpetrators of the most serious crimes that affect the international community as a whole.
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