United Nations General Assembly: Report of the International Criminal Court

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by First Secretary, Mr. Luke Roughton.

Thank you, Mr. President,

We thank President Hofmański for the Court’s report and welcome the opportunity to discuss the International Criminal Court’s contribution to the international rule of law and its relationship with the United Nations.

We commend the progress made by the Court in 2020 and in 2021, notwithstanding the continuing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the use of arrangements such as hybrid in-person and virtual proceedings. We note with appreciation the Court’s engagement with States Parties, the United Nations, intergovernmental and regional organisations and civil society in order to enhance cooperation with, and support for, the Court.

New Zealand supports the International Criminal Court as a central pillar of the international rules based order and international criminal justice. In delivering on its mandate to hold to account those individuals responsible for the most serious international crimes, the Court plays a crucial role within a broader system of domestic and international accountability mechanisms. We note that the cooperation and assistance provided by the United Nations provides invaluable assistance to the Court in being able to fulfil its mandate effectively.  

We welcome the efforts made by the Court, the Review Mechanism, and States Parties in moving towards implementing the recommendations made by the Independent Expert Review in its September 2020 report. The report provided important insights, underpinned by a thorough examination of the Court system, including consultations with its staff and officials, as well as States Parties. We encourage all States Parties to ensure their ongoing support for the Court in implementing appropriate recommendations. 

New Zealand’s view remains that States Parties should focus on supporting the Court to consolidate its work in the exercise of its mandate, and to focus on the investigation and prosecution of the most serious international crimes, consistent with the principle of complementarity.

Mr. President, 

New Zealand supports the Court’s role as an independent judicial institution. This independence must be respected, and protected, to enable it to perform its functions. Earlier this year, we welcomed that the United States had withdrawn visa restrictions and economic sanctions that had previously been imposed on the Court. New Zealand is also firmly of the belief that the mandate and credibility of the Court are intrinsically tied to its independence and impartiality. 

We are grateful to the leadership of the United Nations in continuing to support and cooperate with the Court, in particular to the Secretary-General and the Under Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, as the interface between the Court and the United Nations system. In addition, we welcome the support provided to the Court by the wider United Nations system, including in regional offices, by providing essential operational support to the Court’s activities, with the agreement and cooperation of host States. 

New Zealand is committed to the Rome Statute and its underpinning principles of complementarity, cooperation and universality. We reiterate that the primary responsibility to take robust and appropriate measures when faced with the commission of international crimes lies with States. The Court is an independent court of last resort to try these crimes. Domestic courts and judicial processes that secure accountability for the perpetrators of international crimes are crucial to implementing the principle of complementarity. We encourage States Parties that have not done so to consider incorporating Rome Statute crimes and principles into their domestic law. 

Above all, New Zealand is committed to the Court and will work with others to ensure the Court continues to be, and is seen to be, an effective and sustainable judicial institution.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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