STATEMENT OF H.E. AMBASSADOR FERIT HOXHA PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ALBANIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 13TH MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY OF STATE PARTIES TO THE ROME STATUTE - NEW YORK 11 DECEMBER 2014

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by warmly congratulating you Mr. President, the Vice-Presidents and the members of the Bureau on their election. I would further like to express the strong commitment of the delegation of the Republic of Albania to making a constructive contribution towards a successful conclusion of the 13th session.

Albania has aligned with the statement delivered by Italy, on behalf of the European Union. Allow me, Mr. President, to add a few additional remarks in my national capacity.

Since its establishment through a historic and landmark decision, the International Criminal Court has developed into a strong legal mechanism, offering access to justice to the victims of the most serious crimes and preventing atrocities worldwide.
Biter history everywhere and particularly in our region has taught us the value and importance of international justice and its significant contribution to peace, security and reconciliation. With the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR) the Security Council acknowledged for the first time that accountability for the most serious crimes under international law is an integral part of the maintenance of international peace and security.

Albania supports the integrity, independence and efficient functioning of the International Criminal Court, which is critical to maintaining and bolstering the ICC’s capacity to deliver justice, provide redress to victims and rebuild post‐conflict societies. Albania strongly supports the Rome Statute system, which has, as its cornerstone, the principle of equality before the law. No one remains above the law and justice cannot be selective. In this respect we have committed and are in the process of finalizing the ratification of the Kampala amendments adding to the ICC work a very important dimension. Albania has also expressed support for a Joint Initiative toward the adoption of a “Multilateral Treaty for Mutual Legal Assistance and the Extradition for Domestic Prosecution of the Most Serious International Crimes”. We look forward to supporting this initiative, including inter-alia, for starting negotiations on the matter by signing the Permanent Declaration.

We support the universality of the Statute and full implementation of obligations under it. Full and prompt cooperation between the Parties and the ICC remains essential to the effectiveness and success of the international criminal justice system. This is not merely an obligation from the treaty; it is our collective obligation to the victims of the most serious crimes and the best way of promoting implementation is by showing our example.

Mr. President,

Experience has shown that the international community has various possibilities to help national justice processes in countries seeking to come to terms with past crimes. International justice and local solutions are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, given the principle of complementarity, such solutions can even be used in conjunction with an ICC referral, or in cases where the ICC already has jurisdiction, to the benefit both of the ICC and the national processes. This would allow the ICC to step in should the local or hybrid solution prove to be unsatisfactory or indeed unavailable.

Let me make a final remark. Last month the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on a resolution recommending that crimes against humanity committed in the DPRK be referred to the International Criminal Court. This recommendation follows important recommendations on other situations made earlier from the General Assembly and other UN mechanisms, which very regrettably, have not been referred to the ICC.

Albania firmly believes that the Council should continue to be a key player to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes under international law, part of which should be done pursuant to the referral power of the Council under the Rome Statute. But the council has to be up to its responsibility and world confidence.

When countries are confronted with situations of mass atrocity, of grave massive human rights breaches, when states are at risk of experiencing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing, it is up to the Security Council to act swiftly and resolutely. Not being able to do so seriously affects the credibility and the legitimacy of the Council. Using Veto in such cases despises victims and empowers dictators and other serious human rights offenders. In this respect, Albania strongly supports the French proposal and the efforts of ACT for a “code of conduct” regarding the refrain in the use of veto in situations of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

I thank you Mr. President.

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