Foreign,Commonwealth and Development Office
Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court 2023: Statement from Andrew Murdoch, Legal Director at FCDO
Statement on Behalf of the United Kingdom: Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute 7 December, 2023
Madam President, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates. I welcome this opportunity to address the Assembly on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom.
This anniversary year marks a significant milestone in the Court’s history.
The Rome Statute is a landmark treaty, given life through the collective determination of the international community to address impunity and ensure accountability for the most egregious crimes.
It is worth reflecting that twenty-five years ago there were those who thought the Court would be a symbolic but ultimately toothless body. Such pessimism has been proved wrong. The Court continues to grow – including with Armenia’s welcome ratification of the Rome Statute.
The United Kingdom would like to express its deep gratitude to President Hofmański, whose term as President of the Court expires next year.
We also offer our sincere thanks to you, Madam President. As a judge, President of the Court and now as Assembly of States Parties (ASP) President, you have been a loyal servant and champion of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its values.
And we thank outgoing ASP Vice Presidents Ambassadors Sequensová and Rae for their exemplary service to the Court.
Finally, we congratulate Mr Osvaldo Zavala Giler on his election as ICC Registrar, the incoming ASP President, Vice Presidents and newly elected judges. You can all count on the UK’s support in the execution of your important mandates.
We commend the Court for its work this year, demonstrating its capability to successfully run three parallel trials, including the conviction of Dominic Ongwen for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
We commend the work of the Trust Fund for Victims in ensuring that the interests of victims are central to the work of the Court.
We also commend the Office of the Prosecutor for its careful prioritisation and use of resources. Concluding the investigative phase of four situations since the last Assembly is part of an effective prosecutorial strategy to achieve better and more focussed results. An agile approach to the Court’s work is more important than ever given the growing pressures it faces on its limited resources.
It is a perhaps a reflection of the Court’s successes that we have seen increased attempts to intimidate the Court and undermine its work. The criminal proceedings initiated by Russia against six ICC Judges and the Prosecutor and the cyber-attack were both cynical responses from those who fear the Court’s ability to deliver accountability and justice. Now more than ever, the Court needs our support. We stand in support of the principled stance of the Prosecutor.
Of course, such support need not be blinkered to the challenges the Court faces.
While we welcome the progress made to improve its performance, effectiveness and efficiency, there is more to be done. We congratulate the Review Mechanism and all stakeholders in the Independent Expert Review (IER) process on completing the assessment this year of almost all 384 IER recommendations.
Some of those recommendations have already been implemented, but the majority have not. It is vital that momentum is maintained to deliver the change that is needed.
The UK firmly believes that States must help the Court to meet its existing mandate before asking it to do even more. Great caution needs to be exercised by States considering adding more crimes to the Rome Statute, particularly where doing so risks division amongst States Parties.
And while we welcome the Court’s three courtrooms being in full use this year, we remain concerned by the lack of trials in the pipeline.
But of course the ICC does not exist or operate in a vacuum. When considering what more the ICC should do to meet the expectations of the States Parties, we should also consider what more we, the States Parties, can do for the ICC.
While States Parties rightly seek the Court to be more effective and efficient, to avoid judicial or prosecutorial overreach, and to respect complementarity, it must equally be properly resourced. The United Kingdom supports an increase to the Court’s budget this year to ensure that it has the resources to deliver what it is being asked to do.
The Court also needs States Parties to cooperate on fugitive tracking and execution of arrest warrants to ensure that, where necessary, individuals suspected of atrocity crimes are held accountable in The Hague. This will help ensure the pipeline of future trials.
Justice is a precursor to lasting peace. The intricate relationship between peace and justice underscores the indispensable role of the ICC in the pursuit of a more just and harmonious world.
The United Kingdom has been a steadfast supporter of the Court since its establishment, and we continue to stand with the court in its global fight against impunity.
Latest News from
Foreign,Commonwealth and Development Office
UK to increase maritime security links in Southeast Asia, reopen diplomatic mission in Timor-Leste29/02/2024 16:25:00
Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is visiting Southeast Asia 29 February-4 March with a focus on maritime security and strengthening the UK's diplomatic network.
Foreign Secretary's meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister, February 202423/02/2024 11:05:00
The Foreign Secretary met with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 22 February
UK sanctions heads of Arctic penal colony where Alexei Navalny was killed21/02/2024 14:05:00
The UK has sanctioned six individuals heading up the penal colony where Alexei Navalny died on Friday.
US, UK, Canada Joint Statement: Foreign Information Manipulation16/02/2024 16:10:00
The US, UK and Canada have issued a joint statement on Foreign Information Manipulation.
The first UK-EU Counter-Terrorism Dialogue in Brussels05/02/2024 10:15:00
The inaugural UK-EU Counter-Terrorism Dialogue took place in Brussels on 2 February 2024, to enhance cooperation on counter-terrorism.
Minister for Europe in Poland to show support for NATO troops31/01/2024 16:25:00
Europe Minister Leo Docherty visits Poland to meet British troops stationed as part of NATO’s multinational battlegroup
Postponement of the UK-African Investment Summit31/01/2024 15:25:00
The UK-African Investment Summit (UK-AIS) due to take place in April 2024 will now be postponed to a later date. New summit dates will be announced in due course.
UK and US step up action to tackle domestic threat from Iran30/01/2024 11:10:00
A new sanctions package, coordinated with the US, targets Iranian officials responsible for threats to kill on UK soil and criminal gangs who do the regime’s bidding overseas.