Advancing Towards a Crimes Against Humanity Convention
New York, December 8, 2023
Closing remarks by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson
Permanent Representative of Iceland
Dear colleagues and friends.
On behalf of the co-organizers, I would like to warmly thank you for joining us today. Iceland is pleased to be part of this cross-regional group of states and, no less, to share the stage with distinguished civil society organizations and academics. You are our compass and your generosity in sharing valuable expertise is sure to increase the quality of the work towards a new international agreement on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity.
Crimes against humanity continue to take place - across continents. While this is still the case, the moral imperative is obvious: We have got to close the legal gap which still exists, in the shape of impunity for crimes against humanity. And while at it, we might just be able to do better on gender equality aspects - reflecting developments in jurisprudence and thinking over the past 25 years. This would, in practice, mean that we can move closer to a world where we all are actually equal before the law; equally worthy of protection from the worst human rights violations imaginable - regardless of gender or any other status.
A new international agreement can complement the Rome Statute, although, at the same time, it is worth noting that, of course, no State will be forced into joining the Rome Statute as a part of this process. It is up to each sovereign state to take decisions on whether to join international agreements, and here we are speaking of two separate ones.
On an optimistic note, though; support for a new international agreement seems to be steadily increasing and Iceland hopes that States, especially the soon to be 124 States Parties to the Rome Statute, will join the push for a new treaty.
Thank you again for joining us today and for your valuable contributions.