Let me thank the President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi for her thoughtful presentation of this year’s report of the Court to the General Assembly which shows the increase in the work of the Court and the increased effectiveness of its proceedings.
Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and I would like to emphasize only a few points in my national capacity.
First of all, we share the positions of concern and regret expressed by the Secretary General of the United Nations and by the President of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC Statute, Minister Sidiki Kaba of Senegal, on the recent decisions or announcement of withdrawals from the Statute.
The Rome Statute represents a cornerstone in the fight against impunity and the establishment of an age of accountability. As the Government of Botswana, inter alia, stated, as the only permanent international criminal tribunal, the ICC is an important and unique institution in the international criminal justice system. It took over fifty years for the international community to come together in Rome in 1998 and finalize this ambitious treaty, inspired by fundamental principles of international justice that must be preserved.
Secondly, in my role as Vice President of the Assembly of States Parties, I am also proud to work side by side with the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Statute in his effort to pursue dialogue while preserving the important principles embodied in the Rome Statute. Any issues pertaining to the functioning of the Rome Statute system can and should be addressed in the Assembly of States Parties as the proper and appropriate platform for States Parties to address any concerns they may have regarding the implementation of the Statute. We have been, we are and we remain open to dialogue.
Of course our focus must remain on the victims. It is important that the International Community increases its efforts in upholding the concept of complementarity. The ICC is a Court of last resort. What we would like to see is a stronger capacity at national level to prosecute crimes and defend the victims. This can be done by enhancing the role of various UN bodies and of Member States in providing technical assistance to strengthen national judicial systems, especially in Countries transitioning from wars or conflicts. Together we must make further progress in the fight against impunity, as the Court has already done, for example for crimes committed by ISIS/Daesh, including by supporting efforts to prosecute crimes against children and women, atrocities against members of protected groups and minorities, and crimes against cultural heritage; and also by promoting the opening of new avenues for the prosecution of traffickers of human beings.
Therefore, I join the call on all States Parties to remain committed to the Rome Statute and to all States to contribute to the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.