France reaffirms backing for International Criminal Court
Paris, 17 July 2018
ICC – 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute
On 17 July 1998, the statute of the first permanent International Criminal Court was adopted in Rome by 120 countries so that those responsible for the most serious crimes could be brought to justice. The creation of a criminal court with universal jurisdiction represented an important step in the fight against impunity.
Indeed, the International Criminal Court is mandated to bring to justice people responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity when states are unable or unwilling to do so. States maintain primary responsibility for trying the perpetrators of such crimes. Cases may be referred to the ICC by a state, a public prosecutor, or by the UN Security Council.
France, which played a major role in negotiating the Rome Statute, signed it on the very day it was adopted.
We are committed to the balances guaranteed by the Statute between legal traditions, between court languages, between the role of states and the court’s independence, and between the powers of the prosecutor and the rights of the defence.
Today, 17 July 2018, also marks the start of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, under amendments adopted in 2010 and a decision by the Assembly of States Parties adopted in 2017. The latter confirmed that, consistent with the Statute, the Court cannot exercise its jurisdiction should a case be referred to it by a state party or on its own initiative, when the acts in question have been committed by a national of a state party that has not ratified these amendments, or on the territory of that state. These amendments have not been ratified by a very large majority of states parties, including France, which does not accept this jurisdiction. Indeed, it could lead to contradictory decisions by the Court and the Security Council on the existence of an act of aggression.
France supports the Court’s operations, both through its budgetary contribution and its cooperation with the Court. It encourages the Court’s bodies to continue their efforts to ensure that it carries out its mission effectively. It calls on all nations that have not yet done so to ratify the Rome Statute.