"Ratification and Implementation of the Kampala Amendments on the Crime of Aggression in the European Context"
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by saying that I am honoured to speak to you today on the topical issue of international law. I am also pleased that the Principality of Liechtenstein has chosen the Council of Europe to host this meeting.
As you are aware, the Council of Europe has supported the ICC and the principles of the ICC on numerous occasions. From 2000 to 2006, our Organisation held a number of multilateral consultations on the implications for the Council of Europe member States of the ratification of the Rome Statute.
These consultations pursued a goal which has since become a reality: the Rome Statute has entered into force and a large majority of Council of Europe member States have implemented the Statute in their legal order by adopting the necessary amendments to their legislation.
Today, the Kampala amendments call for taking a step further. A new chapter is opening as States stand at a watershed moment towards achieving justice and ending impunity for one of the most serious crimes: the crime of aggression.
The judges of the Nuremberg trial referred to aggression as the "supreme international crime". Aggression blatantly negates the core values of the Council of Europe and of the international community at large. It represents the ultimate threat to peace and infringes the ideals that the Council of Europe stands for by violating the most fundamental human rights.
In light of the issues at stake, the achievements of the Kampala Review Conference are most commendable.
To give full effect to this initiative, time has come for action. 30 States must ratify the amendments in order to activate the exercise of the ICC's jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. Today, 41 of the 47 member States of the Council of Europe are Parties to the Rome Statute and 2 of them – Liechtenstein and Luxembourg – have already ratified the amendments on the crime of aggression.
I can today assure that the Council of Europe will actively continue to encourage this process, taking into account the needs of our member States and the core values of this Organisation: human rights, democracy and rule of law.
We will also continue to follow closely any developments in relation to the ICC in order to sustain the ICC's fight against the impunity all too often associated with aggression.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I appeal to your States' devotion to the core values of our Organisation to make the most of the opportunities offered by this meeting and I wish you a very fruitful exchange of views.