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Resumed nineteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC – Evento a margine.

Intervento introduttivo dell’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente e Incaricato d’Affari a.i. dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, all’ Evento a margine su “Assessing the Independent Expert Review (IER) Report’s findings and recommendations on victims’ rights: the perspectives of NGOs.” —

Good afternoon everyone and good evening for those who are connected from Europe. It is a real pleasure to co-sponsor and to host this side event, which will focus on the findings and recommendations of the Independent Expert Review on victims’ rights from the perspective of the NGOs. I wish to thank the organizers and co-sponsors: the Parliamentarians for Global Action, the International Center for Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Redress and Victims’ Rights Group.

The Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations is particularly pleased to host this event. Since the negotiation of the Rome Statute back in 1998, Italy has been at the forefront in promoting the victims’ rights to participation in criminal proceedings before the ICC. The rights of victims are especially entrenched in our domestic legal system, including with regard to criminal procedure, and we fully support the objective of enhancing these rights especially in case of most heinous crimes also at the international level.

· Italy also attaches great importance to the Trust Fund for Victims. Last year we made a contribution to the Trust Fund. It was a earmarked contribution devoted to the reparation for the destruction of cultural property related to the Al Mahdi judgment. This year we just approved a new, non-earmarked voluntary contribution of 30,000 Euros to the Trust Fund. We are of the view that a joint effort by State Parties, first of all, to sustain the fund would be of paramount importance. At the same time, we think that fundraising efforts, including among private stakeholders, should be also strongly encouraged, as stated also in the Independent Expert Review report.

Coming to the Report, we look forward to today’s discussion on the Independent Expert Review analysis and recommendations. These recommendations must be considered and possibly taken onboard by the ASP and by the next Bureau. Italy values very much the contribution and the feedback of civil society in advancing this conversation both in terms of participation of victims in investigations and proceedings and in terms of reparations to the victims to be awarded by the Court. It is clear that in their respective roles, there must be a distinction between States Parties and civil society and there must be also full respect for the indipendence of the Court but the interaction between States Parties and civil society continues to be a key factor in strengthening the Court’s effectiveness and credibility.

Let me conclude by recalling that this event intends also to pay tribute to the sudden and premature passing of Mr Felipe Michelini, the Director of the Trust Fund for Victims. His leadership in promoting international criminal justice and the rights of victims deserves full recognition. We are honoured to host an event which is dedicated to his legacy and we look forward to Prof. Banfi’s remarks in his memory.

Without further ado, I thank you all again and I pass the floor back to you.