Since its establishment in 2002 under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the ICC has become a cornerstone of international justice. Currently, 121 states are party to the Rome Statute. In 2012, its profile was further raised by a number of events to mark its 10th anniversary.
The ICC delivered its first verdict in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo on 14 March. Mr Lubanga was found guilty of the war crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate in hostilities in the Ituri region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 1 September 2002 and 13 August 2003. He was subsequently sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. An appeal is ongoing. The ICC’s second verdict was delivered on 18 December in the case of Mathieu Ngudjolo-Chui, a Congolese national who was acquitted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prosecution have said they will appeal.
We will work closely with key partners to ensure that the court continues to receive international support and cooperation and to combat attempts to undermine it. The UK has a long-standing reputation for promoting and supporting the work of the ICC, and played a major role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council in ensuring that it had the international backing it needed to take its work forward. We continue to respond to requests from the ICC Prosecutor’s office for practical assistance, in particular in areas such as financial investigations and access to witnesses.
In July, we contributed £500,000 to the ICC’s Trust Fund for Victims, which will help victims to rebuild their lives and communities. We will continue to explore opportunities to provide further support for victims and to develop national capacity and action to combat impunity.
Throughout 2012, the UK worked to support and develop management and oversight of the ICC, helping to ensure that it continues to mature as an efficient and effective institution. We played a leading role in the negotiations at the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties in November to agree a budget which reflected the court’s increased workload but which also requires the court to have a robust and transparent management system. We also led efforts to introduce the first review of ICC criminal procedures, due to start in 2013, with the aim of making its processes quicker and fairer.