03/29/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/29/2019 16:26
Thank you, Mr. President. The United States strongly supports MONUSCO and is pleased to have voted in favor of this resolution today.
We thank SRSG Zerrougui and her team for their stewardship of MONUSCO at an important moment in the DRC's history and commend their engagement in support of the Congolese people.
MONUSCO's new mandate seeks to align the mission with the new administration's priorities: tackling corruption and increasing transparency; fostering accountability; improving security throughout the country, particularly in the eastern DRC; improving human rights practices, and providing opportunities for all Congolese.
MONUSCO's new mandate also prioritizes the safety and well-being of the Congolese people. Through its focus on the protection of civilians, stopping sexual and gender-based violence, and preventing violations and abuses committed against children, this Council has ensured that the mission's fundamental responsibility is to support those who have suffered from conflict, instability, and violence for far too long.
Today's resolution includes new language on peacekeeping performance to help ensure that MONUSCO is composed of the best-performing civilian and uniformed personnel. As a result, we expect to see improvements in MONUCO's implementation of its mandate to neutralize armed groups and prevent conflict, including through disarmament and mediation.
The mandate also emphasizes the important role that MONUSCO can play in the response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak. If requested, MONUSCO can provide security assistance to responders providing life-saving support.
And perhaps most importantly, with its emphasis on strengthening Congolese institutions within existing resources, this Council has given MONUSCO the mandate to work closely with the Congolese authorities to provide technical assistance and build capacity in areas of strategic importance, such as security, rule of law, and natural resources management. These efforts are critical to the long-term success of MONUSCO and the eventual transition of responsibilities to the DRC government.
Mr. President, we note that this resolution contains references to the International Criminal Court, and in this connection we refer to the U.S. policy on the ICC as announced by the White House on September 10, 2018, and to Secretary Pompeo's announcement on March 15, 2019, regarding visa restrictions on ICC officials in furtherance of this policy.
In particular, the United States reiterates our continuing and longstanding principled objection to any assertion of ICC jurisdiction over nationals of states that are not parties to the Rome Statute, including the United States and Israel, absent the UN Security Council referral or the consent of such a state. We also wish to reiterate our serious and fundamental concerns with the ICC Prosecutor's proposed investigation of U.S. personnel in the context of the conflict in Afghanistan.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a State Party to the Rome Statute and, as recalled in this resolution, has consented to the ICC's exercise of jurisdiction. We understand MONUSCO's mandate with respect to the ICC will be limited to working within the authorities of the DRC in circumstances where all the relevant States have consented to the ICC's activities.
The United States remains a leader in the fight to end impunity and continues to support justice and accountability for international crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. We respect the decisions of those nations that have chosen to join the ICC, and in turn we expect that our decision not to join and not to place our citizens under the ICC's jurisdiction will also be respected.
Thank you, Mr. President.