Latin American states use Security Council seats to show strong support for the International Criminal Court and international justice
an article by Coalition for the International Criminal Court (abridged)
With its mandate to oversee peace and security in the world,
the UN Security Council is a prime forum for states to promote
justice and accountability. In recent years, Latin American
states in particular have used the Security Council platform to
speak strongly in support of international justice and, more
specifically, the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Argentina’s ambassador to the UN speaks during a Security Council meeting. © STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
click on photo to enlarge
A look at the different votes and initiatives put forward by
Latin American Council members over the past few years
bears witness to the region’s commitment to justice.
After a Security Council resolution referring the Syrian conflict
to the ICC was vetoed by Russia and China last month, Chile—
the newest Latin American state to join the Security Council—
joined France, Rwanda, Jordan, Luxembourg and Australia
calling for the adoption of a code of conduct restraining the
use of the veto on matters involving war crimes, crimes
against humanity and genocide. . .
n an additional statement of support for the ICC, Chile noted
that the Court has proven to be the best instrument to
investigate grave crimes under international law and called for
the integrity of the Rome Statute to be respected.
Argentina also spoke strongly in defense of the Rome
Statute’s integrity after the Syria resolution was vetoed. The
Argentinean representative stressed that while she had voted
for the referral, she nonetheless had strong concerns
regarding provisions that could undermine the Rome Statute
and the ICC. . .
Argentina also expressed its disappointment in the Security
Council’s inability to agree upon a viable plan for justice in
Syria, signaling that the Council cannot continue to let politics
influence its decisions to hold perpetrators of grave crimes
accountable or act as though it must choose between peace or
justice. . .
The South American country has also been a strong voice for
enhanced cooperation with the ICC. While holding the
Council’s presidency in August 2013, Argentina organized a
high-level open debate on cooperation between the UN and
regional and sub-regional organizations in the maintenance
of international peace and security, which was presided over
by President Fernandez de Kirchner.
Guatemala, a relative newcomer to the ICC, has also used
membership on the Security Council to promote international
In October 2012, while Guatemala held the Council’s rotating
presidency, it organized open debates on the rule of law and
on peace and justice, with a special focus on the role of the
ICC. Guatemala also produced a presidential statement on the
rule of law and a concept paper on peace and justice, which
raised the role of the ICC in addressing impunity and
deterring mass atrocities. . .
The relationship between the ICC and the Security Council is
an important one, and enhanced cooperation between both
organs is crucial for international justice efforts. With 11 ICC
member states currently on the Council, now is an opportune
time to push ICC and justice-related issue forward.
So far, Latin American states have responded to this
opportunity with a loud and—at times—uniform voice in
support of the Court.
[Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this
Question(s) related to this article:
Could use of the ICC help prevent future wars?,
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