H.E. Ambassador Shin Kak-soo, Deputy Permanent Representative, at Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly
Thank you, Mr. President.
1. I would like to begin by thanking the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Philippe Kirsch, for his presentation of the report of the Court to the plenary of the General Assembly.
2. On 28 October, Mexico became the 100th State Party to the ICC, marking an important milestone on the road towards universal ratification of the Rome Statute. This is a goal that the Republic of Korea strongly supports. It is our belief that there must be a seamless web of justice throughout the world.
3. Currently, however, there are only 12 States Parties to the Rome Statute in Asia. My delegation is eager to see more Asian States become parties to the Statute as soon as possible. Asian States should also become partners for international criminal justice, which will serve the interests of peace and justice in the region. We hope that the Court as well as States Parties will provide assistance to Asian States to enable them to prepare for accession to the Rome Statute. The Republic of Korea will do its part by engaging in outreach and advocacy efforts to encourage more Asian States to join the ICC.
4. My delegation is pleased to note that the ICC is now a fully functional judicial institution. The Prosecutor of the Court is currently investigating situations in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Darfur, Sudan. Additionally, analysis of eight situations on four continents is underway, including in the Central African Republic and in Cote d’ivoire. Operational presences are being established. The Pre-Trial Chamber has recently unsealed the arrest warrants for five senior leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda on counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Trials are expected to begin in 2006.
5. Such progress will not only bring to justice perpetrators of heinous crimes, but will also serve as a deterrent of future atrocities. The success of the Court will send a strong message to the international community that there will be no impunity for those who would commit crimes against humanity, genocide, or war crimes.
6. How the ICC selects and handles the cases will be an important determinant of the Court’s future and of whether it will be embraced by the entire membership of the UN. To ensure the best possible performance by the Court, States should provide it with the financial, logistical and political support it needs to perform its work, thus enabling the ICC to realize the rule of law and the end of impunity for crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. States Parties must ensure that assessed contributions are paid in full and on time. Voluntary contributions are also encouraged as an important source of resources.
7. In terms of the Court’s functioning, it is important to note that the ICC does not have its own enforcing arms. The Court needs the assistance and cooperation of States to apprehend indictees, collect evidence or execute its sentences. It is thus critically important that the Court receive the full cooperation of States, relevant regional organizations and UN operations.
8. The Relationship Agreement between the United Nations and the ICC provides many avenues for mutually beneficial cooperative efforts to establish the rule of law and end impunity. Particularly important areas of cooperation in the field are communications, transportation, logistics, and security, including the protection of victims, witnesses and investigators, as well as providing access to suspects and enabling the collection of evidence and documents.
9. Each of these areas requires the cooperation and support of the United Nations. Information-sharing between the UN and the Court is essential, both at headquarters and in the field. To facilitate cooperation between the UN and the ICC, my delegation strongly supports the establishment of a liaison office for the Court at the United Nations and the endowment of adequate resources for its effective functioning.
10. We also urge the continued participation of States in the special working group on the crime of aggression. It is important that States actively participate in this important discussion on the definition of the crime of aggression, including the conditions under which the ICC would exercise its jurisdiction. My delegation looks forward to further progress on this issue in coming years.
11. My delegation welcomes the increasing trust of the international community in the independence, fairness, impartiality and effectiveness of the ICC. This trust was demonstrated when the situations in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic were referred to the Court by the States themselves. The first referral to the Court by the Security Council, of the situation in Darfur, Sudan, is a strong testimony that peace and justice, often misunderstood to be mutually exclusive, can go hand in hand.
12. With these positive developments in mind, the Republic of Korea once again reaffirms its unswerving commitment to support the ICC in bringing about its noble goals.