On 14 June 2016, the Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, attended the commemoration of International Criminal Justice Day, which was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. Providing remarks on behalf of the Secretary-General http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=9883 and OLA [Link to speech], Mr. Serpa Soares emphasized the shared values of the United Nations and he ICC, which both strive to maintain international peace and security, promote respect for human rights and secure the rule of law. He recalled the establishment of the Relationship Agreement between the United Nations and the Court, which provides the basis for cooperation between the two entities and the wide range of support which the UN provides to the Court.
Mr. Serpa Soares also stressed the importance of holding perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern to account in order to realize the shared vision of a peaceful, just and sustainable future. He noted that the Court’s lifetime coincided with an age of accountability, where international criminal justice is firmly established as an important component of international law and international relations. Mr. Serpa Soares also underscored that the Court is one of last resort and recalled that the Rome Statute itself gives its Member States the primary responsibility for the prevention and prosecution of Rome Statute crimes committed in their territory or by their nationals. In this regard, he drew attention to the United Nations’ efforts to assist Member States to better address impunity at the national level by recalling, as an example, the support provided to the Government of the Central African Republic for the creation of a Special Criminal Court in Bangui, which will receive logistical and other assistance from the Organization as mandated by the Security Council.
Among others, the event was attended by representatives of the Coalition for the ICC, Human Rights Watch, and representatives of the Permanent Missions of various UN Member States, including the Bahamas, Brazil, El Salvador, France, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Sudan, Switzerland, Peru, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
From left to right: USG Miguel de Serpa Soares, UN Legal Counsel; Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, ICC President; Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi of Italy, Vice-President of the ICC ASP