Don speaks to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe re: the International Criminal Court

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 – Strasbourg

Mr Don DAVIES (Canada, Observer) – Let me first congratulate the rapporteur on an excellent report that clearly describes the issues relating to the International Criminal Court and the importance of co-operation with it. The ICC is the first permanent institution with universal jurisdiction that can bring to justice the perpetrators of the most serious crimes that are international in scope. In that regard, the co-operation of States is crucial in achieving the ideal of peace that inspires the ICC and its mandate: to put an end to impunity and to contribute to the prevention of new crimes. However, those objectives cannot be achieved without ongoing and sustainable support for budgets and diplomacy when it comes to investigations, prosecutions and the enforcement of sentences and releases.

      As indicated in the proposed resolution and the report prepared by the rapporteur, the ICC has no police force or law enforcement body. Accordingly, the court is entirely dependent on the co-operation of States and other international players for the process to run smoothly. As you know, Article 86 of the Rome Statute stipulates that States party have a general obligation to co-operate with the ICC. This co-operation begins with the universal ratification of the Rome Statute, as the Council of Europe recommends in Resolution 1644. It also requires States parties to incorporate the Rome Statute into domestic law, as Canada did in 2000 when it passed the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. It was the first country to do that.

      The same logic applies to other ICC instruments, such as the “Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the lnternational Criminal Court” and the resolutions adopted at the Kampala review conference in 2010. Particular attention must be paid to the ratification of Resolution 6 adopted in Kampala, which expands the scope of the court’s jurisdiction and incorporates the crime of aggression. As stated in the preamble to the Rome Statute, States parties shall refrain from the threat or use of force against other States, which is also set out in Article 2 of the UN Charter. The exercise of the lCC’s jurisdiction with regard to crimes of aggression will help to ensure that the illegal use of force does not go unpunished and that heads of State and governments are held accountable for their actions.

      It is important to ensure that the ratification of a treaty and compliance with its provisions are more than just rhetoric. Respecting the rule of law is a fundamental principle of our modem societies and is one on which the lCC’s ideals of justice are founded. To guarantee an effective judicial process, it is critical that the ICC has the tools needed to fulfil its mandate. That begins and ends with the co-operation of States parties who have committed to that mandate.

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