Mr. Costis Efstathiou, SOC, Cyprus.
3rd Part-Session PACE, October 2016.
I congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Destexhe, on the report, as well as colleagues on the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on the constructive arguments put forward in the text. Although the resolution before us is straightforward and consensual, it is important to stress that the mandate of the International Criminal Court needs to be bolstered at all levels, both in theory and in practice, bearing in mind that there is already a major drawback in that a number of states have not even become signatories to the Rome Statute. The universal ratification of the Rome Statute therefore remains a priority.
Though one can easily understand why states are reluctant to be subject to international law or institutions, it is imperative that all member States of the Council of Europe take this unpleasant but important step. Turkey, for instance, may find itself in a difficult position as a consequence of ratification, bearing in mind that to this day, Turkey has perpetrated the crime of aggression and war crimes against my country through the continuous colonisation of the occupied part of Cyprus and the destruction of its rich cultural heritage, according to the steady jurisprudence of the ECHR here in Strasbourg. There are, of course, other states that may find themselves in the same difficult position for various and different forms of behaviour, but those steps must be taken by all contracting States; otherwise, the role of the ICC will remain inadequate.
In addition, we should make sure that national legislation procedures are in line with the Rome Statute. The principle of complementarity is endangered by the disparity between relevant legislations among the contracting parties. The situation is obvious, given that the ICC’s actions have political consequences.
The international community should not deviate from uniformity as regards the application of international criminal law. The non-universal application of international criminal law results, among other things, in different national interpretation of the same legal terms; the use of different legal terms and notions for the same acts; and non-alignment with international jurisprudence, given the intervention of political factors. The answer to this challenge must come through the uniform application of international criminal law through the same standards and procedures.
Finally, given that we are discussing international criminal law, the codification of customary international law is of great importance. If we do not succeed in this endeavour, I fear that it will lead us to another loud failure of a noble idea.