Statement by Gregory Nickels, U.S. Senior Advisor to the 65th General Assembly, on Agenda Item 73: Report of the International Criminal Court, Plenary Meeting in the General Assembly

Gregory Nickels, U.S. Senior Advisor to the 65th General Assembly
New York, NY
October 29, 2010


Thank you, Mr. President.

We would like to thank President Song for his Report, and for his service to the International Criminal Court.

Although the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute, we too have an abiding interest in seeing the Court successfully complete the prosecutions it has already begun. As President Obama’s national security strategy states: “the end of impunity and the promotion of justice are not just moral imperatives; they are stabilizing forces in international affairs.”

The United States remains steadfastly committed to promoting the rule of law and helping to bring violators of international humanitarian law to justice, and will continue to play a leadership role in righting these wrongs. As we have emphasized, we cannot ignore the terrible crimes that have been perpetrated, wherever they may occur, and the massive human suffering that the world has witnessed.

The International Criminal Court plays a key role in bringing perpetrators of the worst atrocities to justice.

The United States was pleased to participate as an Observer at the Review Conference in Kampala and at meetings of the Assembly of States Parties in The Hague and New York that preceded it. We sent a large observer delegation to Kampala, and participated actively in the stocktaking exercise, in the many important and stimulating side events, and in the substantive discussions of amendments to the Rome Statute. The US government co-sponsored a side-event on positive complementarity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has provided an important foundation for our work on this issue since Kampala. And we were the only non-party State to make pledges. We hope that our active and principled engagement helped to enhance the discussions and to improve the outcomes of Kampala, including the outcome on the crime of aggression.

We recognize that the amendments adopted at Kampala were a compromise that few if any delegations consider perfect, and my delegation’s concerns in particular about the possibility of investigations and prosecutions under Article 15-bis in cases where the Security Council has not determined that an act of aggression has occurred are well-known. We believe that it was wise for the States Parties to subject the exercise of ICC jurisdiction under this provision to a decision to be taken after January 1, 2017. This will provide breathing space in which measures that require attention can be considered, and in which progress on other issues facing the international community – the effort to ensure accountability for perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – can be consolidated.

We note that the resolutions under which both the aggression amendments and the amendments under the so-called Belgian Amendment were adopted in Kampala state that the amendments are subject to ratification or acceptance and shall enter into force in accordance with article 121(5) of the Rome Statute. As such, the provisions do not provide authority for the Court to exercise jurisdiction regarding these crimes when committed by the nationals of a State that does not ratify them or on the territory of such a State.

In conclusion, the United States would like to again extend our thanks to the States Parties to the Rome Statute for the gracious way that our participation has been received over the past year after such a long absence from Assembly of States Parties meetings. We would also in particular like to thank the government of Uganda for its warm hospitality at the Review Conference.

We look forward to continued engagement with the States Parties to the Rome Statute.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2010/256