Norway joins others in thanking today’s briefers for clearly underlining the need for accountability for serious international crimes, including related to Ukraine.
We understand accountability to include both State responsibility under international law, and individual criminal responsibility. The more political type of accountability, as exercised at the UN, is also important. In essence, we are talking about ensuring much needed reactions to those who disregard international law, including IHL, human rights, and criminal law.
Together, as an international community, we have put in place significant international mechanisms and initiatives to ensure accountability. We look to: The ICJ adjudicating cases between states; the ICC prosecuting individuals; as well as the Human Rights Council’s fact finding, and special procedure mechanisms.
Let me underline the important role of the ICJ in the peaceful resolution of disputes.
We are appalled by blatant examples of the disregard of ICJ rulings. We in this Council have special responsibility to do what we can to ensure that binding decisions by the Court are faithfully abided by. Norway sees the ICC as a beacon in international criminal law - stepping in if national accountability mechanisms are not able to. Yet, the authority this Council has to refer cases to the ICC is underutilised. And we must be better at following up the cases we refer. We call on all to: facilitate access, support the investigators, and to hand over wanted individuals to the Court.
Norway joined 40 other nations in a referral of the current situation in Ukraine to the Court. We are pleased that the ICC is investigating possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Successful accountability measures include representatives from all facets of society.
We must insist on women's full, equal, and meaningful participation- not merely as an end in itself- but as a prerequisite for peace and stability. Civil society and the media also play an ever more crucial role. In collecting and sharing evidence; and spreading the message that perpetrators will be held to account.
Above all, accountability is vital to ensure justice for the victims, and to deter and prevent, future violations. We must also always be alert to the needs of victims and survivors, in all their diversity. Those committing atrocities - like we have seen in DRC, CAR, Myanmar, Syria, Ukraine or elsewhere – they must face justice.
Let me be clear: International law is not optional. And violations will not go unchallenged. A culture of impunity increases the risk of conflict recurring. Accountability, justice, and the protection of civilians is crucial for long-term international peace and security.
This Council, and its individual members, must play their role.