Fighting for justice – The 11th Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court

Maria Owczarz

From  14 to 21 November 2012 The Hague, the Netherlands – the official seat of the International Criminal Court, a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of agression – became a gathering place for representatives from about 90 of the 121 States Parties of the Court, observer States and many international organizations. The reason for that was the eleventh meeting of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC which took place at the World Forum Convention Center where central issues of the ICC were discussed. The ASP itself is the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC and is composed of the States that have ratified and acceded to the Rome Statute.

The main objectives of the 11th session were: approving a budget of the ICC for the 2013 and the election of a new Deputy Prosecutor  and members of both the board of directors of the Trust Fund for Victims and of the Advisory  Committee on Nominations. The new Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC elected for a term of nine years is now Mr. James Stewart. The opening of the eleventh session of the ASP was preceded by an event commemorating the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute. It took place in the Knight’s Hall with the presence of her Majesty Queen Beatrix.

Much time was also devoted to the general debate and heard statements by States Parties, observer States and international organizations – stating both the gratitude for ten years of the ICC work but also challenges to be faced. The Court was appreciated for its work on conducting investigations and trials and claimed to be a very important part of the international machinery for responding to crimes under international law. However, it was also called on more effective work on complementarity principle and cooperation between States Parties.  As far as the budget is concerned  the Assembly approved, by consensus, appropriations totaling €115,620,300 with €115,120,300 for the budget and €500,000 to replenish the Contingency Fund. Furthermore, the Assembly approved a staffing level of 766.

During the whole session of the ASP a wide contribution of civil society organizations could have been noticed.  Have you however known that Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch are two non-governmental organizations which together with over 2,500 other civil society organizations  from 150 different countries constitute the international organization called Coalition for the International Criminal Court which actively takes part in work of the ICC itself? During the ASP many NGOs worked closely with the CICC which actually facilitated participation of the them in meetings.  The Coalition called on states to demonstrate more their commitment to end impunity by ensuring that the Court has a full equipment to build upon what had been accomplished in its first decade and effectively meet future challenges. The official Convenor of the CICC, Mr. William R. Pace stated: “States must use this Assembly to break from budget-dominated discussions of previous years by reflecting on the achievements of the Rome Statute’s first decade and putting in place concrete means of overcoming  the many obstacles in the path towards accountability for grave crimes.”

The next session of the ASP, will be held in The Hague, The Netherlands, November 2013.


What is next between EU and USA

Katarzyna Sosnowska

It’s been almost a month since Barack Obama won the election for the position of the President of United States. Representatives of authorities of the European Union congratulated Barack Obama on the  presidential elections victory in the USA. They also expressed hope that the EU and America will strengthen cooperation and together will face the global challenges. But apart from big words in official congratulations all of them were aware that there will be no substantial changes in the foreign policy of USA.

Among European politicians Obama is regarded as not interested in making  traditional axis United States – Europe, since he believes that the most important centers of future power are in China and India. Obama’s first term of office was disappointing, but current one again won’t be simple, since there are many unsolved problems in front of re-elected president (like for example Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the atomic program of Iran). What is interesting, still almost 70% of Europeans would vote in favor of Obama (according to German Marshall Fund’s survey). That may seem strange taking into account the fact that during his previous term of office the theme of Europe was rather avoided. The same was during the election campaign. Both candidates paid more attention to Asia, therefore there was no place for European matters.

There are a few ways to explain that matter. Firstly there is a common belief that Americans concentrate on the problematic matters so relationships with Europe do not classify as such. The other opinion (supported by Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in Polish parliament) propagates the way of thinking that as long as America does not deal with its crisis, one should not await for crucial changes in the strategy of global proceedings.

Van Rompuy and Barroso announced that the cooperation between USA and EU should concern „unlocking the potential of the transatlantic market” . It’s obvious that euro crisis can influence also economy of States so the fight against the crisis is a priority. Moreover, Barroso reminded that stimulating the growth in the economy and creating places of employment remained the priority of both European Union and America.

To sum up, Europe accepted the another election Barack Obama for the office of the president of USA with satisfaction. However these emotions have a little in common to euphoria which ruled after his first victory four years ago. In my opinion it happened because right now he was not perceived as a kind of savior (like he was portrayed during first election campaign in States). Europeans have learnt the lesson of experience of the first term of office of Obama are looking rationally to his attitude to Europe now. They more or less know that the US’ foreign activity for next four years  will probably take part outside the Old Continent.