ASP 13 Day Six: Civil society address Assembly | Still no sixth judge

Coalition for the ICC Convenor William Pace addresses the Assembly of States Parties. © CICC/Gabriella Chamberland

Coalition for the ICC Convenor William Pace addresses the Assembly of States Parties. © CICC/Gabriella Chamberland

The 13th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) continued today at the United Nations in New York. The Assembly will run until 17 December.

We bring you a summary of today’s ASP plenary, elections and side events, as well as news coverage, documents and websites.

Advocacy papers produced by Coalition teams, as well as individual members’ recommendations to the ASP are available on the our website. Official ASP documents and journals can be found on theICC-ASP website.

Follow us on Twitter with the hashtag #ASP13 for real time updates and view images from the Assembly on Flickr.

Plenary session
During the morning plenary session, the general debate continued with elections running concurrently. After states parties finished making their statements, observer states, international organizations and civil society were able to address the Assembly. In addition to a statement delivered by Coalition for the ICC Convenor William Pace, statements were made by the CAR Coalition for the ICC, the Mexican Coalition for the ICC, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice. In the afternoon, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Justice Initiative addressed the Assembly. All statements will be made available shortly on the ASP website.

The morning continued with a presentation of the proposed programme budget for 2015 by ICC Registrar Herman von Hebel, who took the opportunity to also give updates on the Court’s permanent premises, cooperation challenges and the restructuring of the Registry. This was followed by a presentation of the recommendations of the Committee on Budget and Finance to the Assembly on the Court’s proposed budget, made by Chairperson Carolina María Fernández Opazo.

During lunch time, informal consultations took place to discuss the Omnibus Resolution, as much of its content is still under negotiation in the Assembly.

In the afternoon, the elections again ran concurrently with the general debate. By the end of the day, no candidate had been elected to fill the final judicial position.

The plenary session on cooperation that took place last week was then resumed to allow for additional participants to give comments and remarks.

Informal discussions then continued on the ASP’s budget report and resolution. Informal discussions also continued in the working group on amendments on the proposed amendment to rule 76 of the rules of procedure and evidence.

In the evening, informal consultations on the ASP’s cooperation resolution continued.

Judicial elections continued in the morning with one remaining judge to elect. Sweden withdrew its candidate after no one was elected in the 12 round of voting, leaving only the candidates of Hungary and Timor-Leste remaining. No one was elected in the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th or 17th rounds.

Find out more about our campaign to ensure the election of the highest qualified ICC judges

Side events
Several side events were held in the afternoon. A side event on The ICC and UN Cooperation on the Enforcement of Sentences was held by the Netherlands, Norway, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the ICC Presidency. Speakers included ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song;  Hirad Abtahi, legal advisor for the ICC Presidency; Simone Monasebian, UNODC; and Phillip Meisner, UNODC. Topics discussed included the multi-stage process by which the Court is reliant upon member states to enforce its sentencing decisions; enforcement of sentence agreements signed between the ICC and states parties; and the Court’s partnership with UNODC to cover the treatment of prisoners and the management of facilities.

Denmark and the Netherlands held an event on Documenting International Crimes to End Impunity in Syria. Panelists included Balkees Jarrah, Human Rights Watch; William WIley, Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA); and Mohammad Al Abdallah, Syrian Justice and Accountability Center. Topics discussed included CIJA’s experiences collecting evidence of crimes in Syria; efforts to hold alleged perpatrators accountable, including the failed Security Council ICC referral; perceptions of justice and accountability in Syria; and the role of the international community.

FIDH and Costa Rica held an event entitled, Reflecting on Ongoing Structural and Jurisprudential Developments of Victims’ Rights at the ICC. The event featured a panel moderated by FIDH Vice President Katherine Gallagher. Introductory remarks were given by Juan Carlos Mendoza Garcia, ambassador of Costa Rica. Panelists include: Herman von Hebel, ICC registrar; Fergal Gaynor, victims’ representative in the Uhuru Kenyatta case; James Mawira, case manager in Kenyan Case 1; David Donat Cattin, secretary general of Parliamentarians for Global Action. ASP President Sidiki Kaba gave concluding remarks. Topics discussed included myths about how victims’ participation works in practice and ongoing developments in victims’ rights at a structural and jurisprudential level.

Kenya held an event on the ICC and the Reconciliation Process in Kenya. The panel was chaired by Ngunjiri Wambugu of the Kenyan Citizens Coalition. Panelists included Major John Seii, vice chair of the Kenya National Council of Elders; Esther Kagongo, victim of the 2007-08 post-election violence; Ronald Osumba, Onward Social Platform;  Rose Kisama, Women’s Peace Caravan; and Njenga Mwangi, victims’ lawyer. Topics discussed by the panelists included the experience of post-election violence victims, the Kenyan government’s response and the impact of the ICC’s investigation.

Tomorrow at the ASP
Tomorrow the ASP will continue in the morning with a meeting of the Working Group on the Budget, followed by informal consultations on the Omnibus Resolution. The afternoon is reserved and the Bureau will announce the agenda soon.

In the afternoon, Finland, Ireland and the Coalition for the ICC will organize an event entitled, Making Justice Visible – Exploring the impact of ICC outreach and communications.

The Hague Trials Kenya reported that Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice is in attendance at the ASP to lobby support for justice in Kenya and detail the Kenyan government’s interference with the ICC cases.

The Coalition for the ICC’s Stephen Lamony told The Nation (Kenya) that while the Kenyan government wants to silence NGOs, civil society has a right to participate in and speak at the ASP.

The ICC published the prosecutor’s report to the UN Security Council on the situation in Darfur.

Speaking at the ASP, Palestine’s UN envoy said that Palestine might be the next state to join the ICC, but that its leadership has yet to decide at what time it will do so.

Noting events at the ASP, a Standard (Kenya) editorial called on the Kenyan government to stop blaming the ICC for the country’s problems.

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