Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today, the Capital of Phnom Penh of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has the great honor of hosting the conference of observing experts of the International Criminal Court. This signifies the sympathy and support for Cambodia expressed by the believers in justice and all other supporters who established the International Criminal Court for the benefit of all citizens of the world!In behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, along with the Government’s Legislative and Judicial bodies, I extend my warmest welcome to all the presenters and participants. I wish you all success in keeping the world safe from criminal acts, including any future crimes of aggression.
At this forum, I am pleased to join everyone’s appreciation for those who devoted their efforts to enable the creation of the International Criminal Court as a full-fledged international effective 1 July 2002. Our hopes and dreams of a better world have become closer to reality through the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Half a century ago, this dream was forced into being, in the face of powers that caused genocide, crimes against humanity, criminal wars and aggression. On 17 July 1998, in fulfillment of the dream and willingness, the Rome Statutes on International Criminal Court was set up. Four years later, on 1 July 2002, the International Criminal Court came into existence according to the provisions of the Rome Statutes. This was an unprecedented achievement in international jurisprudence, one that will actively contribute to ensuring world peace. The shocks that have been endured by humanity over the last century, where millions, including children, suffered from unexpected atrocities have made all of us recognize that serious criminal acts have considerably threatened the peace, security and the well-being of the international community.Peace, security and well-being cannot be sustained and stabilized without justice.
Therefore, I am convinced that the countries in the region and others will ratify the Rome Statutes of the new International Criminal Court soon. Currently there are 81 countries which have ratified the Rome Statutes, of which there are only a few Asian countries. Cambodia is a founder-member of the International Criminal Court. Moreover, Cambodia is ready to send its judges as candidates of the International Criminal Court and expects the support from all the member states for this initiative. Cambodia sincerely urges all friends in the Asia Region to enter into membership on the International Criminal Court. Through this mechanism, all nations can contribute more meaningfully to maintaining peace, security and the well-being of our region as well as to the world.
So far, I have addressed to our regional and international friends. Now, allow me to use this forum speak to our beloved fellow citizens and government officials! As I stated earlier, Cambodia is a member-state and a founding member of the International Criminal Court.First, I think it is important to raise awareness of the International Criminal Court among the public and people of all walks of life. The Cambodia Human Rights Commission, which is the government body, must actively and comprehensively fulfill the task of educating the people about the International Criminal Court.
We all know that only those crimes that have taken place after 1 July 2002 may be brought before the International Criminal Court for judgment. This means the International Criminal Court does not have mandate to address crimes which occurred before its establishment. Moreover, the nature of the International Criminal Court is not to replace or fulfill the functions of national courts. The International Criminal Court will enter into cases only when the national courts are unable or unwilling to act.
Thus it is clear that the relationship between the International Criminal Court and the national courts is complementary. Such complementarity requires us to exert our best efforts to enfold criminal procedures of the International Criminal Court into the procedures of our national criminal law. This will bring our national court proceedings closer to the international-level standards of the International Criminal Court. This requires the strengthening of our legal and judicial system, involving the improved quality of national courts and improvements in the protection and respect for human rights in Cambodia. These days represent an opportune time for such reforms since are in the process of formulating a new criminal code and procedures. Thus I urge the authorities responsible to consider, and urgently so, what needed for our national criminal laws to be consistent with the Statutes of the International Criminal Court.In conclusion, I reaffirm that education and awareness-raising on the International Criminal Court, and the inclusion of the provisions of the Statutes of the International Criminal Court Statutes into our national criminal laws are the two most important things that we need to attend to.
Over the past 50 years, the world has gone through more than 250 wars and armed conflicts. These conflicts have caused the suffering and death among about 150 million people. The emergence of the International Criminal Court as a new feature of world justice, will equip the world with a new protection and weapon that will help prevent the future perpetration of serious crimes.The world for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren must enjoy real peace, security and well-being. The world to be inherited by the next generation must be in our thoughts as we work hard during the two days of this conference.
I wish all the presenters and participants at this conference good health, sharp minds and strong commitment in putting the world under the protection of the law, and in ensuring that laws govern everything in the world. Thank you for your attention.