Doc. 9841

23 June 2003

Risks for the integrity of the Statute of the International Criminal Court

Recommendation 1581 (2002)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 844th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (19 June 2003)

1.       In its recommendation, the Parliamentary Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers adopt a joint position of the Council of Europe member states on the issue of bilateral “exemption agreements” concerning the International Criminal Court (ICC) along the lines of Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1300 (2002).

2.       The question of such agreements has been considered by the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI) of the Council of Europe and at the two multilateral consultations organised in 2000 and 2001 by the Council of Europe on the implications of the ratification of the Rome Statute in the domestic legal order of member states.

3.       The Council of Europe has consistently supported the early entry into force of the Rome Statute and welcomes the recent establishment of the ICC. It will continue to support this body in the confident expectation of its efficient functioning.

4.       The Committee of Ministers agrees with the Parliamentary Assembly that the entry into force of the Rome Statute represents a decisive step towards achieving justice and ending impunity for the most serious crimes. Universal adherence to the Statute is crucial for the efficiency of the Court’s operation in preventing impunity and ensuring equal justice for all.

5.       It considers that any efforts to undermine the integrity of the ICC are not acceptable and that bilateral agreements under article 98 of the Statute may only be acceptable if they respect the letter, object and purpose of the Statute. In this context, the Committee of Ministers takes note of the position of a number of states which is reflected in the EU General Affairs Council Conclusions on the ICC of 30 September 2002.

6.       The Committee of Ministers will continue to work for the promotion of the Court and with that in mind, is considering convening a third Multilateral Consultation, in September 2003, on the Implications of the Ratification of the Rome Statute in the domestic legal order of member states. It would welcome the participation of members of the Parliamentary Assembly.