ICC President addresses General Assembly to present Court’s annual report, highlights common mission of the UN and ICC to achieve a world free of violence and conflict
On 2 November 2020, the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, addressed the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to present the Court's annual report, which details its activities, ongoing cases, key judicial decisions and reparations processes.
Reflecting on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the President recalled that while the UN and the ICC have different mandates, "the need for both [institutions] originated directly from the horrors of the Second World War," and that both institutions shared a common mission: "to achieve a world free of violence and conflict – with human rights for all".
"That is the future that the ICC strives to foster. It is the future that assures that there will be accountability through the rule of law, justice for victims- when atrocities that shock the conscience of humanity have been committed; thereby contributing to the prevention of those kinds of atrocities," President Eboe-Osuji said, recalling further that the ICC "embodies the pledge of 'never again' – to atrocities and gross human rights violations that bear out the human capacity for evil".
Referring to attacks against the ICC, the President said: "Ironically, these are an emblematic demonstration of the Court's value for humanity. That resistance shows that the Court is making a difference. It shows that the Court cannot be ignored by those who may, at the very least, see some geo-political interest in the preference to leave innocent victims at the mercy of heinous crimes".
The President emphasised that the values of the ICC remained undistracted by possible imperfections in its design or the continuing need to improve its performance - as a human institution - so it can deliver better on its mandate. He called on those who had not yet joined the ICC system to do so: "I would urge those States to reconsider their objections and join the Rome Statute, knowing that not even their own national constitutions can lay claim to the perfect design that they wish upon the Rome Statute."
Concluding his address, the President urged all States to support the Court. "We now have this instrument of hope for accountability that was improbably created when a rare opportunity presented itself to do so – during a lucid moment in time. We must spare no effort both to hold on to it and to make it work better. For, if we lose it, we may never get it back – any time soon."
The report presented by the ICC President describes the progress made by the Court in 2019-2020 despite practical challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as it was seized of more than ten cases at different stages of proceedings. Among notable developments, one accused was sentenced during the reporting period; the hearings in one trial were brought to conclusion; one trial commenced; charges were confirmed against two accused; one suspect, whose first arrest warrant had been outstanding for more than 13 years, was transferred to the Court; two new investigations were authorized; and the Prosecutor received a referral of one new situation.
For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected]