Statement by DPR Kristel Lõuk at UN Security Council Arria-formula meeting on “20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute: reflections on the relationship between the International Criminal Court and the Security Council”

Mr President,

Allow me to thank Ireland with cosponsoring states for convening the Arria-formula meeting dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute. I thank the distinguished briefers Karim Khan, ICC Prosecutor, Liz Evenson, Director of the CICC Secretariat and Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, President of the International Peace Institute, for their insightful interventions.

The entering into force of the Rome Statute 20 years ago opened a new chapter in the history of aspiring to end impunity.

Universal adherence to the Rome Statute is the cornerstone of the ICC. Since its establishment, the ongoing objective has been to make the ICC truly universal and to enhance its impact on victims’ lives. The new ratifications of the Rome Statute and its implementation are essential for the ICC to fulfil its promise of real and fair justice efficiently. We reiterate our call on all governments that have not already done so, to ratify the Rome Statute in order to further strengthen the system of international criminal justice.

The efficiency of the ICC inevitably depends on States’ cooperation to enforce its decisions, including arrest warrants. When states do not comply, the ICC must be able to rely on the Security Council to intervene with full support. We call upon all states and Security Council to take appropriate action to fully cooperate with the Court and to bring perpetrators to justice.

The fight against impunity for atrocity crimes remains a global concern. In the last years, also situations in Europe – in Georgia and in Ukraine – have triggered investigations by the Office of the Prosecutor.

It has been exactly four months since Russia started the unlawful war on Ukraine, which the international community has strongly condemned. Russian forces are committing barbarities against Ukraine and the Ukrainians. It is of utmost importance that the atrocity crimes would not go unpunished.

The Rome Statute reserves a unique role for the Security Council, as it can refer situations to the Court that would otherwise not fall under its jurisdiction but the gravity of situation requires action.

We regret that Russia is holding the Security Council hostage with its veto power. Veto prevents the Security Council from discharging on its important function entrusted upon it by the UN Charter. We need to step up our efforts of refraining the right to use veto, especially in cases of mass atrocity crimes. We reiterate our strong support to the French-Mexican initiative and the ACT Code of Conduct. We also welcome the unanimous adoption of the GA resolution, according to which every use of veto is explained to the General Assembly.

Mr President,

The Security Council has the task to uphold and promote international law by responding decisively to grave violations of international law, including humanitarian law and human rights law. It is of utmost importance that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole would not go unpunished. Such grave crimes threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world’s populations.

Thank you!