|Statement by Mr. LIU Yang at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 77 Report of the International Criminal Court|
I am very pleased to speak at the current session of the UN General Assembly on the agenda item concerning the report of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Chinese delegation thanks President Chile Eboe-Osuji for his report.
China has unfailingly supported the fight against serious international crimes that endanger peace and security in accordance with the law. Having been deeply involved in the negotiation process of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, China follows the work of the ICC closely and has attended all its sessions of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute as an observer. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute. Starting from scratch, the ICC has gradually made improvements on its rules of procedure and successfully investigated and concluded some cases involving serious international crimes over the last two decades. However, the ICC also faces many challenges, such as its uneasy cooperation with countries around the world and its authority and credibility that remain to be further elevated.
China always believes that the ICC should prudently exercise its mandate in strict accordance with the Rome Statute. Its judicial practices should be in compliance with the basic principles of international law, including the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, so as to promote international and regional peace and security. It is regrettable that some judicial practices of the Court have generated great controversy, giving rise to major concerns which prompted some countries to withdraw from the Rome Statute. African countries have even requested the General Assembly to seek the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has certain connection with some ICC cases that pertain to the immunity of heads of State and government. These phenomena warrant serious reflection. China has taken note of the recent ruling by the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC that the Court has jurisdiction over the situation in Myanmar. The ICC prosecutor subsequently announced the opening of the preliminary examination. China is of the view that this ruling was based on an inappropriate interpretation of the applicable legal concepts, thus unduly expanding the Court’s jurisdiction. Not only is this unconducive to the proper resolution of the relevant situation, it may even make the Court's judicial practices in the future more contentious, further diminishing the Court's authority and credibility.
Pursuant to the decision adopted last year at the Assembly of States Parties, the Court activated its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression as of July this year. China always maintains that the UN Security Council has exclusive power in determining acts of aggression, as the post-Second World War collective security mechanism sets the Security Council at its core. The Court's jurisdiction over the crime of aggression must fall within this basic legal framework. With respect to the specific scope of jurisdiction, the Court should strictly abide by the amendments on the crime of aggression and the decisions of the Assembly of States Parties, thus excluding crimes committed by nationals of non-States parties or by nationals of States parties that have not yet accepted the amendments, and crimes committed in the territory of the above-mentioned countries.
China reiterates its support for an independent, impartial, effective and universal institution of international criminal justice. It is our hope that the ICC will take the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute as an opportunity to take stock of its both successes and failures and contemplate on how to gain the universal trust of all countries so as to promote judicial justice and international peace and security through more objective and impartial judicial practices.
Thank you, Mr. President.