ICC Prosecutor addresses Informal Ministerial Network for the ICC in the margins of the 73rd session of the UNGA.
ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, attends 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly to highlight & advance the work of her Office
From the 24th to the 27th of September, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, attended the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (“UNGA”) held at the United Nations (‘‘UN’’) Headquarters in New York, to participate in a number of high-level side events and to hold bilateral meetings so as to highlight and advance the work of her Office and mandate under the Rome Statute.
In the margins of the UNGA, the Prosecutor held productive meetings with, amongst others, H.E. Mr Adama Barrow, President of The Gambia; H.E. Mr Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia; H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France; H.E. Mr Riad al-Malki, Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs of Palestine; H.E. Mr Sidiki Kaba, Minister of Foreign affairs of Senegal; H.E. Ms Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and H.E. Mr Miguel de Serpa Soares, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel. At these meetings, the Prosecutor expressed her appreciation for the support and cooperation received by her Office, while her interlocutors reaffirmed their strong commitment to continue doing so.
On 27 September, the Prosecutor addressed the annual meeting of the Informal Ministerial Network for the ICC, a network of over 30 Ministers of Foreign Affairs representing regional groupings of States Parties.
At the event, convened and chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein, H.E. Ms Aurelia Frick, the Prosecutor briefed the Network on the latest developments, achievements and challenges faced by her Office, underscoring the importance of consistent support and cooperation by States Parties to the success of the Court. She conveyed her gratitude for the public expressions of support for the Court and stressed the need for States Parties, as custodians of the Rome Statute, to continue to provide such critical support.
“We cannot let the ICC be weakened given its importance to the progress of humanity. On the contrary, we need to strengthen it to be able to continuously deliver on the promise of the Rome Statute and apply international criminal justice, independently and objectively,” she stated. The Prosecutor was received with overwhelming support from participating Ministers, for which she expressed her sincere appreciation in her closing remarks. Following the session, members of the Informal Ministerial Network issued a joint press release renewing their commitment to the ICC “as the centrepiece of the international criminal justice system” and a “fundamental part of a rules-based order.”
On 25 September, at a high-level side-event convened by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and co-sponsored by Luxembourg, Finland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Sierra Leone and Belgium, the Prosecutor delivered a keynote speech on addressing the scourge of sexual and gender-based crimes from her perspective. She re-affirmed her Office’s commitment to continue to apply the Rome Statute, where applicable, striving to systematically investigate and prosecute these serious and traditionally underreported crimes. The Prosecutor called for a collective effort to combat impunity, for the sake of the victims of such heinous crimes.
On 24 September, the Prosecutor participated at a Ministerial-level side-event organised by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands and Niger, respectively, aimed at exploring collective action against human trafficking, through accountability and the rule of law.
She briefed the audience about the efforts of her Office, namely in the context of the Libya Situation, to combat crimes committed against migrants that fall under the Rome Statute. The Prosecutor stressed that a multi-layered, multi-party strategy is required to tackle the complex international, transnational and domestic crimes being committed in Libya, and further elaborated on the collaborative efforts of her Office with various states to combat such crimes.