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Statement of the Republic of Estonia during the GA debate on the report of the International Criminal Court, 29 October 2018

29.10.2018


Madam President,

We thank President Eboe-Osuji for his presentation of the annual report and his ongoing service to the International Criminal Court. We welcome this debate today to discuss the Court’s and the international community’s contribution to international criminal justice.

Estonia aligns itself fully with the statement made by the EU.

Madam President,

Estonia firmly believes that the ICC is an essential tool for fighting impunity and contributing to peaceful societies. The ICC has had a crucial role in the maintenance of a rules-and-values-based world order. It is unfortunate that the rules based international system – the foundation of the international community – is increasingly challenged and questioned. International criminal justice needs greater political support. In this context we would like to mention a particular role of the Security Council. We call upon all States and Security Council to take appropriate action to fully cooperate with the Court and to bring perpetrators to justice and to end impunity.

We would like to recall that this is the primary duty of States to prevent and respond to international crimes and stress that ICC complements, not replaces, national courts. Complementary role of the ICC in cooperation with national justice systems and assistance to their strengthening is of particular importance to combat impunity.

Effectiveness and the efficiency of the ICC to fulfil its mandate inevitably depends on States’ full cooperation with the ICC (irrespective whether they are State Parties or not). We share the concern of the President that prompt and unconditional execution of arrest warrants of the ICC remain a challenge today. When States Parties do not comply, the ICC must be able to rely on the Security Council to intervene with full support. We need to strengthen our common efforts to bring an end to the conflicts and make perpetrators accountable.

We also need to do more to offer important protection for victims and witnesses that have suffered or witnessed crimes. Here we would like to stress the Court’s important role for delivering justice to victims of atrocious crimes in providing assistance and awarding reparations.

Madam President,

The Court is currently dealing with more cases and situations than ever, covering most of the regions of the world. We note the significant judicial developments at all stages of proceedings at the Court. We also take note that the ICC continues its work in carrying out its task on preliminary examination activities and that this year two new preliminary examinations were opened. The increasing number of cases and situations also demonstrate that there is wide trust in the ICC and a testimony to the good work the Court has done. But facing the increasing workload, however, also creates challenges for the Court to remain efficient and effective.

Madam President,

This year, we have celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute and we have witnessed the activation of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression this summer. It is in our hands to further strengthen the Court to fulfil its mandate effectively.

Estonia is committed to continue working together with all partners to further the work of the ICC and strengthen the system of international criminal justice. We call on all the governments that have not yet ratified the Rome Statute to do so.

Thank you, Madam President

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