Statement UN General Assembly Agenda Item 74: Report of The International Criminal Court” (ICC)

Calvin Smyre
Public Delegate
United States Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 30, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, President Hofmanski, for your briefing, and for your leadership as President of the International Criminal Court.

As noted in the Court’s report on developments from August 2022 through July 2023, this has been a particularly active year for the International Criminal Court, with significant activities by all organs of the Court, across a range of situations.

The United States welcomed the conclusion of the Dominic Ongwen appeal, which provided justice, for the first time, for the many victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army, and the conclusion of the trial proceedings in the “Al Hassan” case, concerning crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Timbuktu, Mali.

The ICC has also made meaningful progress in the first trial in a situation referred to the Court by the UN Security Council, in the case against Ali Mohammed Ali Abd-al Rahman, a former Janjaweed commander also known as Ali Kushayb.

This important trial marks the first case against any senior leader for crimes committed by the Omar al-Bashir regime and government-supported forces following the genocide and other atrocities in Darfur.

We also welcomed the Prosecutor’s announcement that his office has commenced focused investigations on recent events in Darfur, as well as the Court’s reauthorization of the Prosecutor’s investigation in Venezuela. Victims of these atrocities continue to demand justice.

We are also tracking significant developments with regard to Ukraine, where the Court issued arrest warrants against Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova for the alleged war crimes of unlawful deportation of population and the unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

As President Biden noted, we believe the warrants are justified. The United States supports that investigation, as well as a range of other situations before the Court.

Twenty-five years on since the signing of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s activities in situations around the world underscore its important role as a key element of the global architecture for accountability – and a reminder of the imperative for justice, even when it may take time to achieve.

While commending the achievements of ICC over the past year, the United States is troubled by its large number of outstanding arrest warrants, a matter that should concern all states. Individuals subject to warrants of arrest by the ICC must face justice before fair, independent, and credible judicial proceedings.

The United States continues to encourage the authorities in Sudan to transfer suspects to the Court, and we continue to offer monetary rewards for information leading to the arrest of Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, to provide justice for victims of the LRA. We also call on all states to cooperate in ensuring that Nouradine Adam, accused of crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic, faces justice.

We are also troubled by recent actions taken against the Court’s security and personnel. This includes the unprecedented cyber breach of the Court, and the arrest warrants issued by Russia against ICC officials. The United States deplores these actions and commends the ICC for remaining steadfast in pursuing its mandate for justice and accountability.

Justice is not only a moral imperative, it is essential for the maintenance of international peace and security. The United States is a strong supporter of meaningful accountability and justice for the victims of atrocities. These are core values, best advanced through a shared commitment, and the ICC is an integral component of that shared commitment to justice.

Although the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute, there is much that we can do, and have done, to advance the work of the Court. This includes through practical cooperation to support the Court’s activities across a range of situations and actively exploring additional ways to support victims and witnesses.

We strongly commend all organs of the Court, States Parties, civil society, and other stakeholders who have continued to work through the recommendations by the Independent Expert Review to address issues to help the Court better achieve its core mandate.

We look forward to continued discussions at the United Nations and to our upcoming participation as an Observer at the meeting of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties here in New York in December.

Thank you, Mr. President.