FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 remain steadfastly committed to promoting the rule of law and to the principle that those responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law should be held to account. We will continue to play a leadership role in righting these wrongs when they have been committed and, in concert with the international community, acting on early warning signs to prevent atrocities from occurring in the first place. We recognize that the International Criminal Court plays a key role in bringing perpetrators of the worst atrocities to justice.
We were pleased to cast our first vote in favor of an ICC referral by the UN Security Council earlier this year, which reflects our continued engagement with the ICC and States Parties to the Rome Statute to end impunity for the worst crimes. Just as we are engaging with States Parties on issues of concern, the Obama Administration also is supporting the ICC's prosecution of those cases that advance U.S. interests and values, consistent with the requirements of U.S. law.
We continue to support positive complementarity initiatives by assisting countries in their efforts to develop domestic accountability processes for Rome Statute crimes. The ICC, by its nature, is intended to examine only those accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for the gravest crimes within its jurisdiction and depends on states to complement the ICC's work with national-level prosecutions. In that regard, over the last year we supported efforts by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to draft legislation establishing specialized mixed courts and will continue to assist efforts to strengthen the capacity and independence of the Congolese judicial system in order to achieve justice for the victims of sexual violence and other grave crimes. We supported a pilot project in the DRC to protect witnesses and judicial officers in sensitive and challenging cases and are expanding this kind of witness-protection support and looking for additional ways to support domestic prosecutions in other countries. Despite the good work that has already been done, important challenges remain. In particular, reparations and coordinated and effective witness and judicial protection remain as key gaps that must be filled. Finally, my delegation's concerns about the amendments adopted last year at Kampala are well-known, and were set forth in last year's debate on this agenda item.
The United States looks forward to continuing its participation as an Observer at meetings of the Assembly of States Parties at the upcoming session in New York this December.
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