Delivered by Mr. Mohamed Al-Ali, Second Secretary

I wish to add my voice to those who have reaffirmed that peace and justice are fundamental values of humanity. The desire for peace and justice is not exclusive to one region or people; they are universal objectives enshrined in both the UN Charter and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is therefore fitting that, on the twentieth anniversary of the ICC, we reflect upon the contributions of the Security Council and the Court to peace and justice. I thank Ireland for organizing this meeting and I thank the briefers for their insightful statements.

As we have previously highlighted, peace and justice are also interlinked objectives that ultimately reinforce one another. Achieving justice by ensuring accountability for atrocities not only restores the rights of victims and survivors, it contributes to peace by healing communities, driving peacebuilding and fostering reconciliation.

To this end, the UAE emphasizes the importance of upholding international law, including international humanitarian and criminal law, and supports efforts within the international legal framework to achieve peace and justice.

The cornerstone of this framework is the primary responsibility of States to uphold international law and prevent and suppress atrocities in their territory and jurisdiction. We also acknowledge the role of the ICC within the international framework. As a treaty body whose jurisdiction is principally based on state consent, we support the sovereign right of States to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Against this backdrop, the UAE wishes to highlight the following points:

First, to fulfil the Council’s duty to maintain international peace and security, Council members should work together to prevent and halt atrocities. As a signatory to the ACT Code of Conduct, the UAE believes Council members should refrain from voting against any credible draft resolution intended to address atrocity crimes.

Second, the Security Council should be guided by the specific dynamics of a situation and the need to achieve a balance between the interests of peace and justice. The Council has an array of tools available to it, with ICC referral being just one such measure.

An ICC referral should not, however, be seen as a panacea. Indeed, this is made clear by Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which, by allowing the Council to defer an ICC investigation or prosecution, anticipates tensions between the interests of peace and justice and provides the Council flexibility to execute its mandate. For each situation, the Council should adopt a holistic approach, with due regard to practical implications and the long-term imperatives of reconciliation, stability, and peaceful coexistence.

Finally, and further to my previous point, the best way to achieve a durable peace is to pursue an approach based on constructive engagement with relevant States and the development of national judicial capacities. It is important here to emphasize the ICC’s foundational principle of complementarity, which underpins its work, including in cases of Security Council referrals. Domestic systems are often able to more effectively and efficiently deliver accountability tailored to local contexts and legal traditions. It is critical that communities perceive accountability processes as something endogenous, and not imposed from the outside.

I thank Ireland, the briefers, and other participants in today’s meeting.