Third Lecture - Philippe Kirsch

Third Lecture - March 31, 2005

"International Criminal Court and the Enforcement of International Justice"

Speaker: Philippe Kirsch, President of the International Criminal Court

It is a great honor to speak before you at this event, which has been graced by distinguished leaders in their respective fields before me.

The OAS can be proud of its history of support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the pursuit of international justice. It is to be recalled that it was OAS Member State Trinidad and Tobago, through former President H.E. Arthur N.R. Robinson, which in 1989 proposed that an international criminal court be established. It was this proposal, coupled with the revitalization of the UN Security Council at the end of the Cold War, which paved the way for the series of events culminating in the historic establishment of a permanent international criminal court with jurisdiction over the gravest offences known to humankind.

Since that time, OAS Member States have been integrally involved in all aspects of building the ICC. They were actively involved in shaping the ICC Statute at the Rome Conference, and in drafting the Court’s subsidiary instruments in the Preparatory Commission which followed the Rome Conference.

Today OAS Member States are well-represented at the Court. Five judges, including myself and the Second Vice-President, are from OAS Member States. The Prosecutor is also from the Americas.

As the Court has become a reality, the support of the OAS, its Member States, and civil society in the Americas, is now as critical as ever to the success of this essential institution. It is in this context that I wish to impart upon you today the role of the International Criminal Court in the enforcement of international justice. I will focus on the following:

The need for an international criminal court,

The features which make the ICC particularly well-suited to fill this role, and

The role of States and inter-governmental organizations such as the OAS in ensuring the success of the ICC.

Full Speech