Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on UN Security Council – International Criminal Court Relations


National statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on UN Security Council – International Criminal Court Relations, 06 July 2018, New York.

Thank you, Mr Chair,

The creation of the ICC was a historic and crucial achievement for the advancement of international criminal justice and the fight against impunity. As we all know, the Council's contribution to that development through its establishment of both International Criminal Tribunals, for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and its support for the various ad hoc courts and tribunals, was ground-breaking.

The Council did so because it acknowledged the intrinsic link between justice and international peace and security. The Council has been consistent in stressing the importance of ending impunity for violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in Council resolutions as a way to prevent conflicts and achieve a sustainable peace.

Mr Chair,

We believe there is an acceptance by Council members of the importance of accountability, as a matter of justice, deterrence and for reconciliation. Nonetheless, we must not shy away from having a frank discussion on the current climate which, unfortunately, is not conducive for the advancement of the accountability agenda within the Council.

This is happening at a time when the Council receives daily reports on the most horrifying crimes committed in conflicts and situations on the Council's agenda such as Syria, Myanmar and elsewhere. It is honestly one of the toughest challenges as a Member of the Council. We must redouble our efforts to reverse this trend and the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute is an opportunity to take stock of achievements and challenges and to do so honestly. Let me make a few points to contribute to this discussion.

Mr Chair,

Firstly, the ICC is a court of last resort; it complements, not replaces, national courts. Complementarity and cooperation between national jurisdictions and the Court are essential features of the Rome Statute. We welcome the complementarity efforts conducted by the Prosecutor as well as by states parties and civil society, and their contribution to capacity-building at the national level, in fostering criminal accountability. There are long-term benefits of national efforts in holding perpetrators of serious international crimes accountable.

Secondly, while it is the duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for atrocity crimes, when they are unable or unwilling to do so, it is clear that the Council must return to shouldering its responsibility in upholding international peace and security by ending impunity, including by referrals to the Court.

And when we do so, we must take concrete and appropriate action to enforce the obligations created by our referrals. This should include responding to the Court's findings of non-compliance. The Prosecutor has made constructive proposals in this regard in her latest briefing on Darfur. Referrals also place obligations on all member states, which must be fulfilled, including by executing arrest warrants. Ideally, the UN should also provide funding when referring a case, in order for the Court to be able to discharge its mandate effectively.

Thirdly, we welcome the Court's advancements and land-mark verdicts on the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. In addition, we encourage the Prosecutor's continued work in integrating a gender perspective and analysis into all of her office's work, in particular her policies on sexual and gender based crimes as well as children. These are important way of reversing a negative trend.

Fourthly, impunity threatens stability and social cohesion, making reconciliation more difficult. The Court plays an important role in delivering justice to victims of atrocious crimes, giving them a voice by enabling their participation in its proceedings. The Trust Fund for Victims, which provides assistance and reparations for victims, is an important tool and should be adequately funded.

Finally, we welcome the decision, by consensus, to activate the Court's jurisdiction over the crime of aggression thereby linking individual accountability and the prohibition of aggression in international relations.

Mr Chair,

There are only a few thoughts on the important and mutually reinforcing roles of the Council and the ICC in ensuring both justice and security. By fully realising cooperation between our two institutions, we can improve the effectiveness of both.

Thank you, Mr Chair.


Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis