Remarks at a UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on the 20th Anniversary of the Rome Statute

Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 24, 2022


Thank you. Let me start by thanking Ireland for convening today’s Arria-formula meeting. Ireland really has been a strong leader on justice, accountability, rule of law issues at the Security Council. I thank the briefers for their compelling statements, and I wish to wish Prosecutor Khan continued success in his role.

The United States is a strong supporter of meaningful accountability and justice for the victims of atrocities. Justice, accountability, and the rule of law are values we believe are best advanced together. Over the past year and a half, the United States has engaged with all stakeholders in an effort to help the ICC achieve its core mission of serving as a court of last resort in punishing and deterring atrocity crimes. We started by terminating the previously imposed U.S. sanctions and visa restrictions in connection with the Court, recognizing that these measures should never have been imposed.

Instead, the United States has recommitted to working with the ICC to identify constructive ways in which we can work to advance our shared commitments to justice. This involves assisting and supporting the Court’s prosecutions in a range of situations. As one practical example, we are actively recirculating our offer of up to $5 million as a reward for information leading to the arrest of designated individuals subject to ICC arrest warrants, including, for example, Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

As we’ve heard, the Rome Statute provides for the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, to refer situations to the ICC. The United States welcomes the opportunity to reflect on the Security Council’s relationship with the ICC. We fully support the ICC’s investigations into the two situations referred to the ICC by the Security Council, in Libya and Darfur, and we continue to call on national authorities in both states, as well as all UN Member States, to cooperate fully with the ICC in any investigation that is referred to it by the Council.

When the Security Council refers a situation to the Court, it is important for the Council to support and continuously monitor those situations in a meaningful way, especially to ensure the cooperation of national authorities with the Court. The briefings and reports by the Office of the Prosecutor provide important insights in this regard, especially to inform the Council of non-cooperation. We are interested in working with other members of the Council to ensure better Council support for investigations arriving from Security Council referrals and to respond when non-cooperation is at issue.

One way that the Council can work to support its referrals is to respond to the ICC when matters are referred to the Council for its consideration and its possible action. Over the years, the ICC has sent several notifications on non-cooperation to the Council. At the very least, the Council should formally submit a letter of reply to the ICC, even if the Council does not take any further action.

We also urge the Council, when mandating UN peacekeeping missions, to continue to include references to pursuing accountability for international crimes. This will ensure that such missions can appropriately interface and cooperate with the ICC when they are operating in situations under investigation by the elements of the Court.

Mr. Prosecutor, the United States welcomes your position that situations referred by the Council must be given greater prioritization in your Office’s work. We are pleased, for example, you visited Sudan so early in your tenure. The ongoing trial of former Janjaweed commander, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, which commenced 15 years after the arrest warrant was issued, is an important step toward justice.

Finally, as we reflect on the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Statute, the daily reports of atrocities in Ukraine are a reminder that the ICC has an important role in a multilateral system that aims to ensure accountability and end impunity. Earlier this week, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack and our Attorney General Merrick Garland met at the Ukraine-Poland border with Ukraine’s Prosecutor General and other justice partners to advance U.S.-Ukraine cooperation on accountability for Russia’s unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine.

The United States supports a range of international investigations into atrocities in Ukraine. This includes those conducted by the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the domestic courts of Ukraine and any other countries with appropriate jurisdiction. The reports of intentional targeting of civilians, infrastructure, sexual violence, require urgent investigation by the ICC and all national authorities with jurisdiction. We stand ready to do our part.

In conclusion, the United States looks forward to ongoing cooperation with the ICC and the Prosecutor’s office and we commend the efforts of the Court to investigate and prosecute those responsible for heinous atrocities. The ICC’s work is a critical element of our shared commitments to accountability, peace, and security.

Thank you, Mr. President.