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Statement by Maria Emma Mejia, Ambassador, Permanent Representative in the New York Working Group of the Assembly of States Party of the International Criminal Court

New York, March 12, 2015

 

Dear Minister Sidiki Kaba,

It's nice to have you back in New York, and as many of my colleagues have said before me, it is nice to have you here. I want to thank your report on the work of the ASP since we saw you last December.

I would like to congratulate Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi for his work as Vice-President of the Assembly of States Parties and President of the New York Working Group. We are happy to have you Ambassador Cardi in NY and Ambassador Alvaro Moerzinger from Uruguay presiding in the Hague. At the same time, I would like to congratulate Argentina, and our region, for the election of Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi as President of the Court, since we consider her as one of our own.

As the Secretariat mentioned, Colombia has been in preliminary examinations for twelve long years, that we hope to overcome soon, taking into consideration that our country believes in all the principles of the Rome Statute and we share the idea of strengthening national capacities to investigate and prosecute crimes of genocide, of war, and against humanity and, as President Kaba mentioned so strongly in his opening remarks, we believe "in the fight against impunity… and that justice will be possible."

My country, as you may all know, is in a peace negotiation to end a fifty years old conflict, process that begun two years ago in La Havanna, Cuba with the hope to sign a peace agreement accompanied by guarantor's countries, Norway and Cuba, and the supportive role of Chile and Venezuela. And if signed, this will be the first peace agreement under the rule of Statute of Rome. It will be very interesting for the international community to see its outcome and results, and we are already working in the post conflict. It is in that context, that I would like to mention the following topics:

First, we are already reflecting on Article 124 and its contribution to move towards universality. Colombia considers that its content is an important mean to allow States to defer in time the jurisdiction of the Court so they can direct their efforts to cease conflicts. I am sure that the meeting of the Group in 16 March on this topic will allow us ample room for debate and exchange ideas.

Second, we will have an exceptional opportunity to touch upon a core matter in the fight against impunity, the issue on peace and justice, on which some States have expressed interest and in relation to your invitation to reach the Bureau with a concept paper, aware that the nature of this subject demands thoughtful analysis before coming up with concrete proposals, interested States Parties must have time to adjust their initiatives.

Therefore, we deem that the distribution of mandates does not prevent the Bureau to allocate, later on, a new one to resume such a delicate but necessary discussion.

For all the States and Governments all these debates are pertinent and necessary, yet for my country they are at the center of our peace talks and constitute live discussions around the path from war to peace, and effective implementation of exceptional mechanisms, such as transitional justice and the pursue of guaranteeing the rights of victims to the truth, justice, reparation, and non-repetition.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair President.