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VI. China and the International Criminal Court

2003/10/28

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the Rome Statute) was adopted at the Rome Conference in July 1998.It defined that the scope of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court comprises four categories of crimes, namely, the crime of genocide, the war crimes, the crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.The Rome Statute went into effect onJuly 1, 2002, and up to May 2003, the state parties to the Statute reached 90 countries.In February 2003, the first conference of the state parties elected judges of the International Criminal Court for the first term, who took their oath of office at the inaugural meeting of the International Criminal Court on March 11.In April 2003, based on the tacit understanding reached among state parties through consultations for a long time, the conference of state parties elected Mr. Moreno Ocampo of Argentine origin to be the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The adoption of the Rome Statute marked that, as a permanent international judicial organization, the International Criminal Court would soon be put into practical operation.As an active participant in the process of preparing for the establishment of the International Criminal Court,Chinaexpressed welcome for this significant development of the international law.

The Chinese Government consistently understands and supports the establishment of an independent, impartial, effective and universal international criminal Court.If the operation of the court can really make the individuals who perpetrate the gravest crimes receive due punishment, this will not only help people to establish confidence in the international community, but also will be conducive to international peace and security at long last.It was precisely based on this stand and understanding that the Chinese Government took an active part in the process of negotiations on the Rome Statute.What was regrettable was that because some articles of the text of the statute agreed by Rome Conference could not satisfy some reasonable concern of the Chinese Government, the participating Chinese Delegation had to vote against the statute when it was adopted.This was also the reason whyChinacould not sign the Rome Statute.

It is subject to influence of many factors whether the International Criminal Court can operate effectively in the time ahead.In order to establish the authority of the International Criminal Court, build up the trust and confidence of all countries in the Court and the realize the real universality of the court statute, the Chinese Government is of the view that the operation of the Court should strictly follow relevant principles based on which the Court was established, firstly of all, the principle of complementarity.The most important role of the International Criminal Court is expressed in that it promotes all countries to improve their domestic judicial systems and guarantees that all countries exercise jurisdiction over perpetrators of grave crimes according to their domestic judicial systems.Secondly, the crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court should only be limited to the gravest international crimes as provided for in the Statute.Thirdly, the activities of the Court should not run counter to the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, especially should be in keeping with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations on the question of crimes of aggression.Fourthly, The Court should execute its duties objectively and impartially, make best efforts to avoid political bias and prevent the Court from becoming a place for political misuse of litigation.

Though it is hard to anticipate the operation of the Court, if the Court can get the general support and cooperation by its effective operation, it will be undoubtedly positive and useful to the international community and is also whatChinawants to see.As to the question of acceding to the Statute, the Chinese Government adopts an open attitude and the actual performance of the Court is undoubtedly an important factor for consideration.We do not exclude the possibility of considering the accession to the Statute at an appropriate time.In future, the Chinese Government will, as an observer state, continue to adopt a serious and responsible attitude to follow carefully the progress and operation or the International Criminal Court.Chinais willing to make due contributions to the realization of the rule of law in the international community.

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