ICC President addresses United Nations General Assembly to present Court’s annual report
On 30 October 2023, the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Piotr Hofmański, addressed the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to present the Court's annual report, detailing its activities, ongoing cases and reparations processes, as well discussing current challenges.
His address taking place 25 years from the adoption of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, the President paid tribute to the United Nations’ role in making that landmark achievement possible. “It was in this hall that the process began. The Rome Statute marked a turning point in the history of international law. … A new pillar was added to the permanent architecture of international justice.”
“While [the ICC] is not part of the United Nations, our two organisations cooperate closely on the basis of the UN-ICC Relationship Agreement,” President Hofmański said, taking the opportunity to thank the United Nations for the “invaluable assistance the Court continued to receive in the past year”.
“From a Court dealing with just a few investigations and very limited courtroom activity, the ICC has grown into an extremely busy institution active on four continents, with parallel proceedings in several courtrooms, week to week, month to month,” the President stated and highlighted some of the main judicial developments during the past year.
He emphasized that reparations are a major part of the Court’s activity, in partnership with the Trust Fund for Victims. “I am proud to work for a court whose founders had the wisdom to make reparations a key part of its concept of justice, moving away from the idea that retribution on its own is sufficient,” the President said.
The President however regretted that, as the ICC’s work has expanded, so have the challenges it faces. “Recently, the Court has been subjected to deeply unacceptable threats and attacks on its judicial independence.… I want to be clear that these challenges will not stop us from carrying out our mandate, independently and impartially, ” the President said.
“Our work for justice continues with the fullest dedication every day. And so it must, because, sadly, the threat of armed conflict and atrocity crimes is not diminishing in the world. Indeed, this is a painful time for our joint humanity,” he added.
In his address, President Hofmański also recalled that the ICC is a complementary court, which steps in only if there is no other feasible avenue for justice. “It is just one part of a global, interconnected system of justice and the rule of law. As a complementary court, its role is to close the gaps of impunity, where they remain,” he stated.
Closing his address, the President encouraged all States to join the Rome Statute, if they are not yet parties to it. “Join the Rome Statute, and you show that you stand for peace, justice and the protection of fundamental human rights. More than ever, we need the world to unite under these values.” he concluded.
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].