|Statement by Mr. Huang Huikang Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China At the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly On Agenda Item 75 Report of the International Criminal Court|
China always values the role of international criminal justice institutions in promoting international rule of law and punishing the most serious international crimes, and China is consistently and actively engaged in efforts to build an international criminal justice system. China supports the establishment of an independent, impartial, effective and universal International Criminal Court and attended the successive sessions of the Assembly of States Parties as an observer.
China wishes to thank the UN Secretary-General for submitting the report of ICC to the General Assembly under Article 6 of the Relationship Agreement between the UN and the ICC and GA Resolution 66/262. Our thanks also go to President Sang-Hyun Song of the ICC for his report. I would like to make a few comments on the relationship between the UN and the ICC and on some aspects of the work of the ICC.
First, on the relationship between the UN and the ICC, China supports cooperation between the two bodies in a manner that conforms to the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions, and the Relationship Agreement between the UN and the ICC. The UN and the ICC are closely linked as follows. As one of the trigger mechanisms for ICC jurisdiction, the UN, through the Security Council, has the right to refer situations to the ICC. As control mechanism for the ICC, the UN Security Council may request in a resolution adopted under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter that no investigation or prosecution be commenced or proceeded for a period of 12 months, which is legally binding for the ICC, and the Security Council may renew such a request under the same conditions. China believes that in order for the cooperation between the two bodies to help fulfill their respective functions and goals, the UN and the ICC must carry out cooperation within the legal framework specified in the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions, and the Relationship Agreement between the UN and the ICC. This is the only way for both sides to derive benefits from the cooperation.
Second, with regard to the principle of complementarity of ICC jurisdiction, China believes that with ICC becoming fully operational, effective implementation of the complementarity principle has taken on greater importance. Under the principle of complementarity, a national court has the primary role in the jurisdiction and trial of international crimes. Only when a state is unable or unwilling to deal with the international crimes involved can the ICC step in to complement the national court vis-à-vis the cases. However, in practice, disputes may arise over whether a particular case falls under the purview of the court of the country concerned or the ICC. China has noted that multiple recent controversies over cases involving certain African countries handled by the ICC have given rise to resentment and worries on the part of the countries concerned and some African countries. China is deeply concerned at this development. We maintain that the ICC must strictly comply with the complementarity principle, fully respect the needs and wishes of national courts to handle cases themselves, give positive consideration to the legitimate demands of regional organizations concerned, and take actions to assist with national capacity building so as to promote effective jurisdiction by countries concerned over the relevant cases.
Third, China wishes to reiterate that we support the international community in its endeavor to punish serious international crimes and deliver judicial justice. At the same time, we hope that the ICC will ensure that its efforts to safeguard judicial justice will be conducive to peace and avoid any negative impacts on the situation of countries and regions concerned and the relevant political processes, so that its work will truly advance the well-being of populations on the ground. China will continue to follow the ICC’s work and hopes that the ICC will win wider confidence and support through its practice.
Last but not least, the Chinese delegation would like to thank President Sang-Hyun Song of the ICC for informing us timely the latest development of the case of President Kenyatta. The Chinese delegation welcomes the decision issued earlier today by the the ICC postponing the start of the trial of the case. The delegation holds the view that the concerns of Kenya and the African Union should be addressed properly and China will pay close attention to the development of the relevant cases.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.