Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Maria Zabolotskaya at UNSC briefing on the ICC report on Libya
Our position on the ineffective and politicized activities of the so-called International Criminal Court and its so-called Prosecutor was exhaustively set out at the Council's previous meeting on this issue. It has not changed in any way and is available for review in the verbatim record of the meeting (S/PV.9320) of 11 May 2023, as well as on the website of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.
Today, however, we are forced to ask once again why the Security Council is wasting time on useless ICC writings. The Prosecutor's latest report is as empty in content as his promises to prioritize situations that the Security Council has referred to the ICC. Year after year, we have to read the same products with minor changes in word order, but this discussion still goes on. And somehow we pretend that things are happening. For example we read with interest that Mr. Khan is dealing with migrant issues. But how exactly? We hear that he cooperated with EU structures on this issue. Whereas in fact he should be looking into their violations against migrants. This is very characteristic.
The picture is more or less the same across all situations on ICC agenda. Take Darfur – the result is null! Worse yet, it is regressive once we take onto account the situation in Sudan and Libya. As a matter of fact, there is nothing to be surprised about. The only real priority for the ICC is paid-for trials, commissioned shamelessly by Western countries who pump millions of dollars into this pseudo-court under the guise of voluntary donations.
Against this background, it is funny to hear ICC's constant complaints about a lack of funds. Even its regular annual budget is already three times larger than, for example, that of the International Court of Justice (not counting generous sponsor assistance).
Nevertheless, some of our colleagues on the Security Council have called for additional money injections to help the ICC. We believe that we have seen the continued degradation of the Court long enough to realize that no additional money can remedy the situation in any way.
In this regard, there is another measure that we want to propose. Why not recall the Libya and Sudan files from the ICC? If the Security Council was able to refer those cases to the Court, then we believe they can be called back. This would be a wise thing to do for the Security Council would free itself from having to listen to these so-called reports. We could start rendering real assistance to those countries, among other things in order to strengthen their legal systems. Political process and national reconciliation must be in the hands of the peoples of those countries. The ICC is clearly no help in this endeavor. The years of procrastination by that pseudo-court and its functionaries on Libya and Darfur speak for themselves more eloquently than any report. Hearing these biannual mock reports is surely just a waste of time that should rather be devoted to other much more meaningful issues. At the moment, perhaps, the issue of Middle East settlement is the priority.
There is another point that we keep hearing for years. Investigation of a situation by the ICC supposedly prevents escalation and restrains the parties from committing grave crimes under international law. Of course, this is a nice resonant slogan. But let us see what happens in reality.
In our view, the current crisis in Palestine is a very telling example. The ICC preliminarily examined this case since 2015 and has been formally investigating since 2021.
On November 6, nearly a month into the current round of escalation, the UN Secretary-General stated that "more UN aid workers have been killed than in any comparable period in the history of our Organization. ... Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children ... hundreds of girls and boys are killed or injured every day."
It would seem that if the ICC has been investigating the situation in Palestine since 2021, it should probably take some urgent action now., like issue warrants, do something... Far from it! We see nothing of the sort. The British pseudo-prosecutor lectures about international humanitarian law. It's impossible to understand to whom those are addressed. Wake up, Mr. Khan! UN agencies are talking about war crimes explicitly and with rather uncharacteristic straightforwardness.
However, there is nothing surprising in the fact that this pseudo-court remains idle on the situation in Palestine. If anyone still had any illusions about this organization, I think by this point they should have dispersed for good. This situation has cleared up any fog on the matter. ICC prosecutors put on the air of “fidelity to principle” only when this comes in handy for the West. They are ready to concoct arrest warrants to order in a matter of days. For an extra fee, they can issue those just on time to coincide with specific events. Want to whitewash the NATO aggression against Libya? Be my guest. Fancy distracting attention from the Russia-China summit or the BRICS summit, here you go with another fake warrant.
The opposite is also true: when an investigation harms Western interests, it is dropped. We all remember that this is exactly what the current British prosecutor of the ICC did with the investigations into US and UK war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In that regard, we are sorry for the Palestinians, who had pinned their hopes on the ICC until the last moment. No justice is to be expected from that puppet, corrupt and pro-Western pseudo-judicial organization.
The ICC today is not only an endless abyss for financial resources. It is not only a symbol of empty hopes and wasted time but a vivid depiction of the degradation and degeneration of international criminal justice. It is a pity that all this happens before our eyes and that the ideals of Nuremberg have been betrayed. Through the efforts of its corrupt officials, the ICC has been reduced to a punitive instrument for settling political scores with those who "crossed the path" of the collective West. What can such an organization have in common with justice?
As a puppet politicized structure (besides, which was created on the basis of a treaty by a limited number of countries), the ICC should not be able to interfere with the normal functioning of the United Nations and its bodies. Not a penny from the UN regular budget should go to this "puppet tribunal". We demand that the Secretary-General should strictly monitor this.