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.