On 25th anniversary of Rome Statute, Switzerland chairs UN Security Council meeting on the International Criminal Court

Press releases, 19.07.2023

In 2023, the states parties to the Rome Statute will celebrate the 25th anniversary of this founding text, marking the international community's commitment to the fight against impunity. On 17 July, Switzerland took part in the commemorations organised in New York. The following day, together with Japan, it organised an informal meeting of the Security Council on the contribution of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to international peace and security. The meeting provided an opportunity for member states to express their support for the ICC as an independent and impartial judicial institution, and to underscore the role of justice in peace.

The states parties to the Rome Statute gathered on 17 July to commemorate the 25th anniversary of this founding document. They took part in a ministerial panel discussion on the ICC's strategic vision for the next decade. "With the creation of the ICC, an essential element of the multilateral architecture defending the rule of law came into being. The ICC deserves the unfailing support of the international community today, for the next decade and beyond," Corinne Cicéron Bühler assured the audience. The 25th anniversary of the Rome Statute is an opportunity to celebrate a major achievement by the international community in the fight against impunity. This text established the ICC as an independent judicial body responsible for investigating the most serious crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. The commemorations raise the ICC's profile and help to strengthen the political support necessary for its mandate. The aim of the meeting was also to encourage those who have not yet done so to accede to the Rome Statute and to reflect on its future.

The following day, UN member states discussed the ICC's contribution to maintaining international peace and security. The informal 'Arria formula' meeting on 18 July was chaired by Ambassador Corinne Cicéron Bühler, with the title of state secretary of the FDFA, and Ambassador Kimihiro Ishikane, permanent representative of Japan to the United Nations.

It provided a forum for discussing the role and importance of the ICC in the fight against impunity worldwide. The meeting was also an opportunity for states to reaffirm their commitment to the Rome Statute. The president of the Assembly of States Parties, Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, the executive director of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims, Deborah Ruiz Verduzco, and representatives from academia and civil society presented their visions for the future of the ICC in terms of peace and security.

Correlation between justice and lasting peace

The ICC's mandate is to deliver justice for the most serious crimes. In cooperation with states, it aims to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their crimes and to prevent those crimes from reoccurring. Switzerland supports the ICC as an independent, impartial judicial institution. At the Security Council meeting, Ambassador Corinne Cicéron Bühler said: "The Security Council is the pillar of international peace and security; the International Criminal Court is the pillar of international criminal justice. Together, they represent the milestones of our shared vision of a fairer, safer and more peaceful world."

The ICC shares core values with the UN system: peace, security, the rule of law and respect for human rights. It is therefore crucial that these two entities work together. International justice is an essential condition for lasting peace. The ICC also contributes to justice through a victim participation and reparation programme.

25th anniversary of adoption of Rome Statute
The Rome Statute was adopted 25 years ago at a diplomatic conference. The treaty defines the crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression, and gives the ICC jurisdiction to prosecute them. This anniversary marks a quarter of a century of commitment by the international community to fight impunity. For its part, Switzerland has always been committed to defending and promoting the principles and values of the Rome Statute. It has also supported the ICC since it was established, and continues to do so in keeping with its Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23.

Further information:

Newsticker UN Security Council
Swiss Statement (fr)

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