Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Draft General Assembly Resolution A/70/L.47, “Report of the International Criminal Court”

Introduction by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations of draft General Assembly Resolution A/70/L.47, “Report of the International Criminal Court” New York,, 13 May 2016


Introductory remarks

Thank you very much Mr President,

I have the honour to introduce, under agenda item 78, the draft resolution A/70/L.47, entitled “Report of the International Criminal Court”.

In addition to the 62 countries listed in document A/70/L.47, 17 countries [1] have indicated their wish to be included as co-sponsors of the resolution.

It is my understanding that the Secretariat will read out the names of the countries involved.

This brings the total number of co-sponsors to a total of 79.

[1] Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Dominican Republlic, Greece, Madagascar, Malta, Mongolia, Montenegro, Philippines, Republic of Moldova, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Ukraine

Mr President,

On 5 November 2015, following the footsteps of her illustrious predecessors, the third President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, presented the eleventh annual report of the International Criminal Court to this august body.

Once again we had a very constructive and in-depth debate that revolved around three basic elements: universality, cooperation and complementarity.


First, Mr President, on universality.

In order to bolster the Court’s success in fulfilling its mandate, universal adherence to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court remains essential.

This year we welcomed El Salvador as the latest State to accede to the Rome Statute, bringing the number of States Parties to 124.

It is our sincere hope that others will join in the near future. It is our firm opinion that all those who are committed to hold the perpetrators of international crimes to account, should show no hestitation and become a party to the Rome Statute.

The universal adherence to the Rome Statute is the only guarantee that perpetrators of the most horrible acts imaginable can no longer count on impunity.


Mr President, my second point concerns cooperation.

Let me highlight that the situation with respect to the outstanding arrest warrants remains worrying.

President Fernández de Gurmendi reminded us that the Court relies heavily on the cooperation of States and organizations at every step of the process.

From investigation to arrests, from witness protection to the enforcement of sentences.

If States do not provide the cooperation necessary for the Court’s functioning in accordance with their legal obligations, the Court will not be able to fulfil its mandate, and impunity will continue to flourish.

The cooperation of States, international organizations and civil society remains essential.

We are pleased that the United Nations has continued to assist the Court in its endeavors through implementation of the Relationship Agreement.

We have noted that the Court expressed its gratitude for the support it received from the United Nations; but we also heard  the request for attention to the ongoing challenges the Court faces due to the lack of full cooperation.

The only way to make progress towards our common goal of ending impunity is to work together: all states, the United Nations, regional organisations and civil society.

We therefore commend the Court for its expansion of its interaction and cooperation with other international and regional organisations, institutions and entities in all parts of the world.


Mr President, my third point is on complementarity. The principle of complementarity is a hallmark of the Court.

The primary responsibility to comply with their obligations under the Rome Statute lies with the national authorities.

It also their responsibility to address cases that involve crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction.

If the national authorities are able to do so effectively, investigations by the Court become superfluous.

In view of the massive workload of the Court all states can do a better job in this respect.

A better job not only by improving the protection of civilians and preventing international crimes, but also by the prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes.

Concluding remarks

Mr President,

the International Criminal Court’s eleventh report and the ensuing debate once again underlined the role of the Court in upholding the rule of law and human rights, but also for promoting peace and security.

Sustainable peace cannot be achieved if perpetrators of the most serious crimes go unpunished.

Peace and justice remain complementary requirements.

And together they serve as a trigger for development.

Mr President,

The Kingdom of the Netherlands continues to take pride in being the host state to the International Criminal Court.

On April 19 of this year the Court moved to its permanent premises.

In the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr Ban Ki-Moon, the principals of the Court and many other dignitaries the inauguration ceremony of the new premises took place.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Bert Koenders, said during the event, the Court owes its existence to two basice human facilities: empathy and collective resolve.

Empathy for the victims and their loved ones.

And a collective resolve to work together and to shape our common future to ensure peace and justice.

To put this empathy and resolve to the best possible use, we all need to work together with the Court for the sake of the victims, their loved ones and for the sake of future generations.

Mr President,

The Netherlands reiterates its commitment to be your partner in the pursuit of peace, justice and development.

And these three fundamental pillars that are inseparable are the cornerstone for the work of the Kingdom of the Netherlands here at the United Nations.

Mr President,

In conclusion I will turn to the draft resolution itself, which continues to serve three main objectives.

First, to provide political support for the International Criminal Court and for its mandate, its aims and the work it carries out.

Secondly, to underline the importance of the relationship between the Court and the United Nations on the basis of the Relationship Agreement and their central role in ending impunity and upholding human rights.

Lastly, the draft resolution serves to remind States and international and regional organizations of the necessity of cooperation with the International Criminal Court in carrying out its tasks.

Mr President,

The Netherlands presents this draft resolution to the Assembly today to be once more adopted by consensus.

I express the hope that it will contribute to the continued or even greater support for the Court in the fight against impunity and its efforts to hold the perpetrators of serious crimes accountable for their actions.

Let us all work together to continue to work for peace and justice.

Thank you Mr President.