20th anniversary of the Rome Statute: the need for universality and the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression

Statement on behalf of Norway by State Secretary Jens Frølich Holte, Conference Room 2, United Nations 17. July 2018.

Let me first begin by thanking the organizers of this International Justice Day, along with the panelists and speakers for sharing their valuable insights. Today, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic adoption of the Rome Statute.

Norway played an active role at the Rome Conference and has been a steadfast supporter of the Court since its establishment.

In these 20 years, the Court has become an important actor in the fight against impunity. Thanks to ICC judgements, justice has been achieved for many victims, and will be achieved for many more.

Today we also mark another achievement for the international justice system; the activation of the ICCs jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. As envisioned at the Rome Conference, the Court may now hold individuals accountable for these violations of international peace. It was imperative that the State Parties were able to reach a consensual decision on this matter, maintaining the spirit of consensus within the ICC community.

Norway has started the process of preparing a decision on ratification of the amendments on the crime of aggression. We encourage other States Parties who have not yet done so, to begin this process as well.

Today we celebrate the achievements of the International Criminal Court, whilst at the same time acknowledging that some states are still sceptical of the Court. The Court is young and there is inevitably room for improvement. However, remaining challenges do not underscore the accomplishments of the Court, and its role as an important, global actor for justice.

Going forward, we must continue working towards achieving universality of the Rome Statute. Only a truly universal Court can fulfil its mandate completely. Norway stands ready to start a dialogue with those countries wishing to join the Rome Statute.

The success of the ICC relies not only on the Court itself, but on all stakeholders; State Parties, civil society and international partners. We all have the same goal: a more just world.

The establishment of the ICC in 1998 was a milestone, but it was merely the first step. Continuous efforts are needed to maintain and strengthen the Court and its key role in the global fight against impunity. We hereby reiterate our continued commitment to international justice and we look forward to continuing the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute.