15 July 2002
Security Council Requests International Criminal Court Not to Bring Cases Against Peacekeeping Personnel from States Not Party to Statute
Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1422 (2002); Request Is for 12 Months, With Annual Renewals Intended
NEW YORK, 12 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this evening, consistent with article 16 of the Statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), requested the Court not to commence a case against any personnel in a United Nations peacekeeping operation from a State not party to the Statute for a 12-month period beginning 1 July.
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1422 (2002), by which it also expressed its intent to renew its request for further 12-month periods for as long as might be necessary and decided that Member States should take no action inconsistent with the above-mentioned provision and with their international obligations.
The ICC's Statute entered into force on 1 July, and article 16 of the Statute concerns a 12-month deferral option on a case-by-case basis.
This evening's vote followed an intense public debate in the Council on Wednesday concerning the legal exposure under the ICC of United Nations peacekeepers from countries not party to the Rome Statute. Several speakers tried to assure the countries concerned, especially the United States, that the treaty had ample safeguards against unwarranted or politicized prosecutions. At the same time, many questioned the Council's authority to rewrite an agreed treaty.
When the Council met, the President transmitted copies of a letter he had received today from the Permanent Representatives of Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa (document S/2002/754), who challenged the legitimacy of the Council's arrogating to itself the right to interpret and change the meaning of treaties.
The letter goes on to say the Council's pursuit of the matter, despite the clear opposition of the international community, "is damaging international efforts to combat impunity, the system of international justice, and the collective ability to use these systems in the pursuit of international peace and security".
The letter states that the ICC was always intended as a court of last resort filling a void where States fail to undertake their international responsibilities to prosecute perpetrators of grievous crimes. The net effect of operative paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Council's resolution will be to remove that possibility in the specific cases of peacekeepers who may have committed crimes under the Court's jurisdiction, if that peacekeeper comes from a State not party to the Rome Statute. Further, the request to the Court in the draft resolution would be renewable on an annual basis, which, for all intents and purposes, would amount to creating a perpetual obstacle to Court action.
Also, the operative paragraph that decides that Member States shall take no action inconsistent with operative paragraph 1 and with their international obligations has the effect of directing States not to cooperate with the ICC if that cooperation is in relation to such a peacekeeper. That means that, if such a person were to be found in one of their countries, and the ICC wished to investigate or prosecute, having fully taken into account the principle of complementarity, the Council would have those countries refuse to surrender to the Court an alleged perpetrator of one of the most grievous crimes.
For additional details of Council meetings on the issue, see Press Releases SC/7430, 7437, 7438, 7441, and 7445/Rev.1.
The meeting began at 6:11 p.m. and ended at 6:14 p.m.
The full text of Security Council resolution 1422 (2002) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Taking note of the entry into force on 1 July 2002 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), done at Rome 17 July 1998 (the Rome Statute),
"Emphasizing the importance to international peace and security of United Nations operations,
"Noting that not all States are parties to the Rome Statute,
"Noting that States Parties to the Rome Statute have chosen to accept its jurisdiction in accordance with the Statute and in particular the principle of complementarity,
"Noting that States not Party to the Rome Statute will continue to fulfil their responsibilities in their national jurisdictions in relation to international crimes,
"Determining that operations established or authorized by the United Nations Security Council are deployed to maintain or restore international peace and security,
"Determining further that it is in the interests of international peace and security to facilitate Member States' ability to contribute to operations established or authorized by the United Nations Security Council,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Requests, consistent with the provisions of Article 16 of the Rome Statute, that the ICC, if a case arises involving current or former officials or personnel from a contributing State not a Party to the Rome Statute over acts or omissions relating to a United Nations established or authorized operation, shall for a twelve-month period starting 1 July 2002 not commence or proceed with investigation or prosecution of any such case, unless the Security Council decides otherwise;
"2. Expresses the intention to renew the request in paragraph 1 under the same conditions each 1 July for further 12-month periods for as long as may be necessary;
"3. Decides that Member States shall take no action inconsistent with paragraph 1 and with their international obligations;
"4. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
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