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General Assembly – Plenary on the Report of the International Criminal Court

Statement delivered by Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly plenary meeting on the Report of the International Criminal Court (Item 77) —

 Mr President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished Representative of the European Union. We would like to provide some additional remarks in our national capacity.

Let me begin by thanking the President of the International Criminal Court for presenting the annual report covering the period 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021.

With regard to this year’s report, Italy continues to welcome the efforts made by the Court in adapting its working methods to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and in the progress made in a number of investigations and proceedings despite the difficult circumstances.

Mr President,

Italy believes that the most effective and structural answer to the many challenges and conflicts the international community is facing today lies in a reformed and enhanced multilateralism. Only a rules-based international system, centred on universal values, fundamental rights, equality and inclusiveness will be conducive to long-lasting solutions for those conflicts. The International Criminal Court represents a crucial tool to achieve these goals.

Italy has been a staunch supporter of the International Criminal Court since its very creation, with special regard to the principles and values that are enshrined in the Rome Statute, including the principle of complementarity. The ICC is a Court of last resort whose jurisdiction can be activated only when the gravest crimes are not prosecuted by States. The ICC steps in with the sole purpose of pursuing justice, which is key to achieve lasting peace and international security.

We firmly believe that the ICC is a pillar of the international rules-based order and plays a key role in the fight against impunity, in holding perpetrators of those crimes accountable and providing justice for victims. The ratification by the Italian Parliament on 4 November this year of the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression and war crimes bears witness to the unwavering commitment of Italy’s institutions to the quest for justice and accountability which is enshrined in the Rome Statute.

Mr President,

The reporting period has seen a combined total of 11,000 victims participating in case before the Court, with 2,300 new victim application forms. The focus on victims is an essential element of international criminal justice. Italy considers that the role of the Court consists not only in bringing perpetrators to justice but also in delivering justice to those primarily affected by crimes committed. For these reasons, also this year, Italy has decided to contribute to the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court.

Italy also underlines the need to continuously observe and safeguard the judicial and prosecutorial independence of the Court and the integrity of the Rome Statute. Neutrality, independence and complementarity of the International Criminal Court are crucial to its functioning.

In this respect, Italy is closely following the ongoing reform process. In particular, the approval of the Action Plan by the Bureau, with the indication of the priority recommendations, is an important first step to make the Court more efficient and modern. Italy will continue to contribute to ensuring this process is expeditious, reliable and in line with the principles of the Rome Statute. In this regard, Italy believes that particular attention should be paid to the implementation of recommendations aimed at improving the quality and effectiveness of investigations, decision-making, cooperation and management of financial resources. In particular, we note with concern the serious challenges that the Court continues to face in relation to its requests for cooperation, including the execution of its outstanding arrest warrants. States should strive to maintain a high level of cooperation for the requests coming from the Court, in full compliance with their obligations under international law.

Finally, Mr President, let me the take this opportunity to thank the Netherlands for coordinating this year’s draft resolution, which Italy has already co-sponsored.

I thank you, Mr President.