Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

International Criminal Court

Delivered in Plenary - 18th May 2010

Madam President

My national party, the British Conservatives – for those who do not know, I am a Conservative – has expressed serious concerns in the past about the ICC and its enforcement of international criminal jurisprudence, as encapsulated in the Rome Statute, in the areas of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

However, the 10th anniversary of the Statute’s entry into force does offer us now an opportunity to make a clear assessment of the role of the ICC and, in my view, the Court has, to its credit, stuck rigidly to its brief, eschewing mischievous prosecutions and seeking to arraign only the most serious tyrants.

The Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has skilfully helped the Court to strengthen its impartiality globally. The aggressive pursuit of politically motivated cases has, thankfully, failed to materialise, which was one of the big worries of our American allies. Britain joined the ICC under the previous Labour administration. Perhaps the recent establishment of a Conservative-Liberal coalition in the UK last week offers us now a chance to reassess Britain’s relationship with the ICC and, at Kampala, to amend some of the disputed areas, like command responsibility.

We cannot allow the UK’s vital national interests to be compromised by the ICC but, at the same time, we should also recognise that in certain circumstances, the ICC may have a constructive role to play in ending a climate of impunity for genocidal dictators.