Press Release: 1 October 2019

ICC President and Prosecutor attend the UN General Assembly: Court plays critical role in a rules-based international system


From the 24th to the 27th of September 2019, the President of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court"), Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, and ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, attended the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly ("UNGA") at the United Nations ("UN") Headquarters in New York, to advance their respective mandates under the Court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

Drawing Heads of State and Government, ministers, senior officials and civil society leaders, the annual high-level segment of the UNGA provides a key strategic platform in the margins of the Assembly for the Court's principals to highlight the work of the ICC within their respective roles, to build support, and to draw on synergies with relevant stakeholders and actors to further the goals of the Rome Statute.

During his stay in New York, President Eboe-Osuji had bilateral meetings with the President of Senegal H.E. Macky Sall, the President of the UNGA H.E. Tijjani Muhammah-Bande, and the Foreign Affairs Ministers of South Africa H.E. Naledi Pandor, Trinidad and Tobago H.E. Dennis Moses, Vanuatu H.E. Ralph Regenvanu and Nigeria H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama, as well as informal discussions with a number of Heads of State and Government and other dignitaries, including from several States that are not party to the Rome Statute. In his meetings, President Eboe-Osuji focused in particular on efforts to promote the universal ratification of the Rome Statute in all regions as well as the strengthening of relations between the Court and African States.

"At a time when the multilateral system is facing many challenges, it is crucial to stress the ICC's irreplaceable value to humanity. Not only does the Court's mandate help to deliver justice to victims around the world and deter the gravest atrocity crimes; it is also essential to the achievement of peace, security and sustainable development. As such, the Court's work resonates strongly with the dominant themes highlighted by world leaders during the General Debate of UNGA", said President Eboe-Osuji. "I was encouraged by the unstinting declarations of support for the Court expressed during my meetings, in which many interlocutors reaffirmed their conviction that the ICC plays a critical role in a rules-based international system. I am optimistic about the prospects of increasing the engagement of states from different regions in the ICC's work, while at the same time the Court itself is investing unprecedented efforts in enhancing its efficiencies to better fulfil its mandate."

In the margins of the UNGA, Prosecutor Bensouda held productive bilateral meetings with, among others, H.E. Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of Central African Republic; H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of Mali; H.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal; H.E. Iván Duque Márquez, President of Colombia; H.E. Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh; H.E. Isatou Touray and H.E. Mamadou Tangara, respectively Vice-President and Foreign Minister of the Gambia; H.E. Riyad Al- Maliki, Foreign Minister of Palestine; Pramila Patten, the United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict; Jim Goldston, Executive Director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, and Richard Dicker, Director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch.

"As we make progress on this necessary journey towards greater accountability for atrocity crimes, and encounter new challenges, what is required today, more than ever, is greater support for our independent and impartial work and the international rule of law more generally; not less. Now is not the time to back down," said Prosecutor Bensouda. "We need to jointly strengthen the international criminal justice system, with the ICC as its central pillar, through greater dialogue, engagement and cooperation", she added.

On the 26th of September, President Eboe-Osuji and Prosecutor Bensouda addressed the Informal Ministerial Network ("IMN") for the International Criminal Court, a network of over 30 Ministers of Foreign Affairs representing ICC States Parties from all regional groups. The event, hosted by the Swiss State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Pascale Baeriswyl, as well as the Permanent Missions of Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the United Nations, provided a venue for the President and the Prosecutor to update the IMN on the work of the Court, and exchange on the recent challenges and ways to strengthen the Rome Statute system. The President and the Prosecutor expressed their appreciation to the States represented for their strong statements of support for the ICC and the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice.

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]

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