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Statement by Mr. Li Yongsheng At the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly On Agenda Item 72 Report of the International Criminal Court

2016/10/31

Mr President,

China is pleased to take the floor on “Report of the International Criminal Court (ICC)” at this session of the General Assembly and would like to thank Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi for her report.

China always attaches great importance to the role of international criminal justice bodies in promoting the international rule of law and punishing serious international crimes. China has consistently taken a constructive approach in building international criminal justice system and follows closely the ICC’s activities, as demonstrated by our participation in all of its Assemblies of States Parties as an observer to explain our position and views.

Mr President,

China takes note of the recent announcement by several African countries to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. We respect their decision and understand their long standing concerns about the ICC. At the time of its creation, the ICC enjoyed widespread popularity and support among African countries. However, it is now the subject of criticism and opposition of an increasing number of African countries, some of whom even withdrew. The reasons behind this trend merit in-depth reflection.

States bear the primary responsibility for punishing international crimes, eliminating impunity and achieving justice. The ICC was established to complement national criminal jurisdictions. It should therefore fully respect their judicial sovereignty, instead of trying to replace them, letting alone allowing itself to be used as a tool by some countries or groups of countries to achieve political gains. How should the ICC fulfill its mandate under the Rome Statute in a cautious manner, how should it win the trust and respect through objective and fair conduct, and achieve the initial purposes of its creation, these questions merit serious reflection.

Mr President,

China takes note of the fact that currently 32 States ratified or accepted the Amendments on the crime of aggression to the Rome Statute, which will enter into force upon adoption by a two-thirds majority of the States Parties. China believes that the crime of aggression has a bearing on international peace and security, and that the Security Council enjoys exclusive power when it comes to determining the existence of acts of aggression. The ICC, when determining the existence of acts of aggression, should act within the framework of international law established by the Charter of the United Nations. The ICC can not exercise jurisdiction if the concerned countries have not accepted the Amendments on the crime of aggression.

Mr President,

China would like to reiterate its support to the international community’s efforts to punish serious international crimes and promote justice. At the same time, we hope the ICC will strictly abide by the UN Charter and ensure its efforts aimed at upholding justice are truly conducive to the promotion of peace, stability and national reconciliation, and truly contribute to the cause of peace and justice.

Thank you Mr. President.

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