I am delighted to convey my greetings and best wishes to all the participants in this important workshop on the ratification and implementation of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute. I thank the Republic of Botswana, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression for their role in making this gathering possible. The convening of this workshop in Gaborone is yet another indication of Botswana’s leadership in supporting the International Criminal Court, and of the commitment of African States Parties to the Court and Statute.
I was proud to participate in the Review Conference three years ago in Kampala. The agreement reached there on the definition of the crime of aggression was a pivotal moment in international law. Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the threat or the use of force in international relations. The General Assembly, for its part, stated in its celebrated resolution 3314 of 1974 that aggression is “the most serious and dangerous form of the illegal use of force”. It is gratifying that the amendment to the Rome Statute defining the crime of aggression was based on the definition set out in that resolution.
But even more significant than the amendment’s roots is its meaning. The achievement of Kampala has set the stage for a paradigm shift in international law and international relations. Five States Parties have now ratified the amendment; it is our hope that more States Parties will ratify the amendment to facilitate a timely entry into force. This will strengthen the prohibition, advance our work against impunity and mark a major step forward in building a new age of accountability for the commission of the most serious crimes of international concern. The International Criminal Court has played a vital role in this regard and the United Nations is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Court in this crucially important struggle.
The United Nations supports efforts to promote wider acceptance of the Kampala amendments and to bring about the conditions by which the Court will be able, by 2017, to exercise jurisdiction with respect to the crime of aggression. This will signify the realization of the long-held dream to institutionalize the achievements of Nuremberg and Tokyo and have a permanent international criminal court exercising jurisdiction over this, perhaps the most serious of crimes of international concern.
The pursuit of justice goes hand in hand with the pursuit of peace, security, development and human rights. I am firmly committed to the goal of achieving universal ratification of the Rome Statute and its amendments, and will continue to use every opportunity to encourage Member States that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to the Rome Statute. Please rest assured that you can continue to count on the full support of the United Nations.