UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY PLENARY MEETING: REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
11 November 2021
Statement by H.E. Dr. Fiona Webster, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Australia is a longstanding supporter of the International Criminal Court and its important role in pursuing accountability for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.
We remain firm in our conviction that accountability for atrocity crimes is critical to sustaining peace and supporting reconciliation in post-conflict situations.
The primary responsibility to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute those responsible for such crimes rests with States.
This principle of complementarity lies at the heart of the Rome Statute. It is crucial to the Court’s success and central to its legitimacy.
As a court of last resort that is complementary to national jurisdictions, the International Criminal Court has a critical role to play in upholding the rules underpinning the international rules-based order.
Australia warmly welcomes the Court’s new Prosecutor, Mr Karim Khan.
His commencement in this role earlier this year provides the Court with a new generation of leadership, and will mean the Court is optimally positioned to deliver on its core mandate.
Australia also pays tribute to Mr Khan’s predecessor, Ms Fatou Bensouda, for her contribution to the Court as Prosecutor over the last nine years, and as Deputy Prosecutor prior to that.
Australia looks forward to working constructively with States, the Court, and other stakeholders on taking forward the Court’s significant reform agenda.
We hope that this reform process will assist the Court to align its resources and strategic direction with its core mandate, improve overall governance structures, enhance the efficiency of existing judicial processes, and ensure only credible investigations are pursued.
The Court must continue to find ways to deliver robustly, effectively and efficiently within the reality of finite resources.
We will continue to support the most highly-qualified and meritorious candidates for the Court, and support reform that would address the persistent gender imbalance in the Court’s staff, especially at higher levels.
In this context, we welcome the election of six new judges to the Court at the 19th annual Assembly of States Parties, bringing gender parity back to the bench.
The continued support and cooperation with the Court from the United Nations (UN), including from its senior leadership and from the UN’s field presence, is essential.
Although both have distinct mandates, at their core, the International Criminal Court and the UN are striving towards the same goals, including justice, accountability, and the maintenance of international peace and security.
The continued support of the UN and its organs for the Court will continue to be critical in the years ahead.