Cyprus has been associated with the position of the European Union, expressed earlier this morning by the distinguished representative of Finland. Consequently, my statement will be confined to certain aspects of the topic which are of particular interest and importance to us and I shall be brief.
Allow me to recall that Cyprus, itself a victim of aggression, military occupation, colonization of the occupied area and destruction of its cultural heritage by the occupying power, has been an early pioneer and advocate of the establishment of international criminal jurisdiction. In the Sixth Committee, in the International Law Commission and several other fora, we strongly advocated (originally in the context of the Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind) the establishment of an effective permanent international court as an instrument of punishment and deterrence against international crime in its various manifestations, at a time when the very idea was ignored as unrealistic and even scoffed at as inappropriate. Later, in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in Nicosia in 1993, the President of Cyprus took the lead in proposing the establishment of a permanent international criminal court and has consistently advocated this proposal in successive statements in the General Debate of the UN General Assembly each year, including the present session. During the elaboration of the text of the Statute by the ILC and, subsequently, in the Sixth Committee, the Preparatory Committee, the Rome Conference and now the Preparatory Commission we, as one of the “like-minded states”, have done our utmost to see this major undertaking of the international community mature and come to fruition. In fact, in its earlier stages, we favoured and worked for a stronger court with more comprehensive powers and jurisdiction. Cyprus signed the Statute of the ICC, as it emerged out of the Rome Conference and intends to ratify it at the earliest possible time.
We are thus in full accord with the European Union that we remain “fully committed to the integrity of the Rome Statute and to its early entry into force”. We are also committed to the realization of an effective, functioning and credible ICC, in close relationship with the United Nations.
We carefully listened to the report this morning of Ambassador Philippe Kirsch to whom we express warm appreciation and read the report in PCNICC/1999/L.3 and L.4 on the proceedings of the Preparatory Commission so far this year and the progress made in discharging the Commission’s mandate.
We share the view that the Commission faces considerable challenges and should continue intensively its work through two 3-week meetings, so as to achieve its objectives on the Rules of Evidence and the Elements of Crimes by the deadline of 30 June 2000; and to hold subsequent meetings to tackle the other items on its agenda, including the definition of the crime of aggression which is an essential element of the Court’s jurisdiction together with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
While we are prepared to cooperate with all delegations with a view to reaching a common position, on the Elements of Crimes (including in article 8(2)(b)(viii) on “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside the territory”, consistently with the position we took in the Rome Conference and our own earlier initiative in the New York Session in 1998, we firmly adhere to the view of the European Union that articles 6, 7 and 8 “should be elaborated in a manner which respects fully the letter and spirit of the well-balanced provisions of the Rome Statute”.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, allow me to reiterate that Cyprus urges that the International Criminal Court be established and be fully functional at the earliest possible time and we express the hope that it will secure the support and participation of all States so as to be fully effective.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.