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International Justice (UK Support and Funding)

Volume 584: debated on Thursday 17 July 2014

I am pleased to provide Parliament with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual account of Government support for the principles and institutions of international justice in 2013-14, and our plans for funding them in the year ahead. Today is international justice day, a particularly appropriate time to focus on this vital area of work.

The UK’s support for international justice is crucial to our foreign policy. International justice is essential for ensuring that perpetrators of atrocities are held to account for their actions, and that victims see justice done. It makes a valuable contribution to addressing the underlying causes of conflict, helping victims of atrocities and their communities come to terms with the past, and deterring those who might otherwise commit such violations in the future. The UK has continued to support the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the international tribunals to tackle impunity for crimes such as genocide, mass killing, using sexual violence as a weapon of war, and use of child soldiers. This work helps to strengthen the rules-based international system and makes a contribution towards building a safer more secure world.

For calendar year 2013 we provided assessed contributions of £7.5 million to the International Criminal Court, £4.9 million to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, £3.5 million to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and £l million to the Residual Mechanism which will take on the essential functions of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals when they close. In addition, for the financial year 2013-14 we made voluntary contributions of £920,000 to the international component of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, £100,000 to the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, and £l million to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The UK also contributed £1.3 million in total to the International Criminal Court trust fund for victims, earmarked for projects which support survivors of acts of sexual violence committed in conflict. This complemented wider UK work to shatter the culture of impunity for perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence in conflict through the preventing sexual violence initiative and the global summit to end sexual violence in conflict.

In November 2013 Charles Taylor, sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), was transferred to the UK at the request of the court. Mr Taylor is now serving his sentence in a UK prison.

As a state party to the International Criminal Court, a member of the United Nations Security Council which oversees the Rwanda and former Yugoslavia tribunals, and a member of the management bodies for the Sierra Leone and Cambodia courts and the Lebanon tribunal, we engaged actively throughout the year to ensure these institutions were run effectively and efficiently.

The coming year will see a great deal of activity on international justice. The International Criminal Court will continue its investigations in eight situation countries: to date 21 cases have been brought before the Court. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda will close with its remaining functions transferring to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia will deliver a verdict in the first phase of the trial of the most senior surviving members of the Khmer Rouge. And the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone will continue to uphold the legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The UK will continue to support these institutions and make contributions to them over the next 12 months. We will continue to encourage other states to contribute to these courts and tribunals in order to give them more financial security through a broader donor base. And we will continue to ensure they deliver value for money by scrutinising budgets and making sure they make the best use of available resources.