General Assembly: 31st Plenary Meeting, 76th Session

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10-Nov-2021 01:37:16
General Assembly: 31st plenary meeting, 76th session

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The General Assembly, acting without a vote, today adopted a resolution that called upon all States not yet signed onto the Rome Statute ‑ the international treaty that created the International Criminal Court at a conference in Rome in 1998 ‑ to contemplate joining the 123 States Parties that have already ratified the accord.

The text emphasized the importance of cooperation with these States that are not yet parties to the Statute, which entered into force nearly 10 years ago.

By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly called upon States parties to adopt national legislation that will implement their obligations and work with The Hague-based Court to carry out its functions.

Welcoming the assistance provided thus far to the Court, the Assembly also called upon those States under obligation to do so to cooperate in the future, particularly concerning arrest and surrender, the provision of evidence, the protection for and relocation of victims and witnesses, and the enforcement of sentences.

Further, the resolution emphasized the importance of fully carrying out the Rome Statute’s Relationship Agreement, which lays down a framework for close cooperation between the Court and the United Nations, and it urged all States parties to take into account the Court’s interests, needs for assistance and mandate when relevant matters are being discussed in the United Nations.

It also looked forward to the twentieth session of the Assembly of States parties to the Rome Statute, scheduled for 6 to 11 December in The Hague.

In the debate on the report prior to the text’s adoption, several speakers echoed the importance of the United Nations partnership with the Court. The representative of Cyprus, for example, said international justice is the United Nations most undervalued pillar, and cooperation between the Court and the Organization is natural and indispensable. Member States must collectively commit to fully support the Court and protect its judicial and prosecutorial independence and integrity.

Several delegations, however, disassociated themselves from the consensus vote as they found fault with the Court’s report. The speaker for the Russian Federation said the annual report, like all its predecessors, reflects the Court’s policy of selective administration of justice.

The Philippines’ representative took issue with the report’s reference to crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction that were allegedly committed in the Philippines’ territory, in the context of the “war on drugs” campaign. The inter-agency review panel, headed by his country’s Secretary of Justice, should be allowed to finish its work of reinvestigating cases involving fatalities in the campaign against illegal drugs, he said. “The precipitate move of the (Court) prosecutor, as captured in the report, is a blatant violation of the principle of complementarity, which is a bedrock principle of the Rome Statute,” he stressed.

In other business today, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a draft decision by which it approved the participation of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector in the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons”. The organizations are listed in the annex of the text (document A/76/L.9).

The Assembly also filled vacancies in three of its subsidiary bodies, having before it the Secretary-General’s notes on the election of members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (document A/76/364); the appointment of members of the Committee on Conferences (document A/76/106)); and the appointment of members of the Joint Inspection Unit (document A/76/365).

Also speaking today were the representatives of Argentina, Costa Rica, Croatia, Mexico, Cuba, Japan, Australia, Estonia, Chile, Ireland, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, France, El Salvador, the United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Georgia, Colombia, Senegal, New Zealand, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Syria, as well as the State of Palestine.

The representative of Israel spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday, 12 November, to elect members of the International Law Commission.

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