On October 30, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the Sixth Committee deliberations of the Seventy-third Session of the General Assembly on Agenda item 82, dedicated to the “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventieth session (Cluster II).”
In his statement, Archbishop Auza said the fact that a majority of countries in the world has not enacted criminal provisions on apartheid, aggression, subjugation, enslavement, force exile, human trafficking, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity does not show that there is no customary duty to exercise criminal jurisdiction over such offenses that offend the conscience of mankind. The lack of such domestic legislation, however, is a matter of great concern, he said, and called in the strongest terms for the prevention of such acts, the prosecution of those who commit them, and the protection of their victims. The Responsibility to Protect, he added, commits individual States to protect their populations from atrocity crimes and the international community to assist states with fragile institutions to do so; it also obliges the international community to protect populations when a specific State fails to do so. Moreover, he said, every State must welcome those fleeing from such crimes and not return such refugees to places where they would be subjected to them. He gave the encouragement of the Holy See to the Sixth Committee’s efforts to develop a new convention on preventing and punishing crimes against humanity through codifying existing customary law and promoting international judicial cooperation.
The statement can be found here.