ICC requests 17% budget increase for growing workload

The entrance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seen in The Hague March 3, 2011. The ICC's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on Wednesday he would investigate the violence in Libya after the U.N. Security Council referred the case to the Hague-based war crimes tribunal. The Security Council on Saturday imposed sanctions on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family, and referred Libya's crackdown on anti-government demonstrators to the ICC. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen (NETHERLANDS - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)

Next week, 22 September, the ICC’s financial oversight body meets to discuss the Court’s 2016 budget request – a 17% increase from last year. So what exactly is the ICC asking for?

ICC budget basics

States party to the Rome Statute pay a yearly contribution to the ICC based on their gross national income. The ICC registrar coordinates the initial drafting of the Court’s budget in conjunction with other Court organs.

The proposed budget is then submitted to the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF), a subsidiary expert body of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP). Final approval is given by the ASP at its annual sessions. The next ASP will take place in The Hague from 18 to 26 November 2015.

During its bi-annual meetings, the CBF considers and recommend the resources that the Court requires to fulfill its various prosecutorial, judicial, and organizational requirements, as well as its obligations to defendants and victims.

The CBF is made up of 12 ASP members, nominated and selected by the ASP based on equitable geographic representation. Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean are allocated two Committee members each. Western Europe and ‘other states’ have four spots between them.

2016 budget request

The total of the ICC’s proposed 2016 budget amounts to €153.32 million. This represents a €22.66m or 17.3% increase on the approved 2015 budget.

This would include funds to cover additional investigations and case prosecutions along with the transition to the Court’s new permanent premises at the end of the year.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  •  Office of the Prosecutor: €6.47m (16.4%) increase
    • €3.4m for a new active investigation and €1.2m for the case against Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen
  •   Registry: €16.91m (26%) increase
    •   €5.6m for sustaining quality and level of services required by parties to proceedings – of that, €2.7m for field operations and €2.1 for protection and support to witnesses
    •  €2.5m to support courtroom activities for live trials
    •  €3m for legal aid for indigent defendants and participating witnesses)
    •  €3.5m for assuming maintenance and support function for new premises
    •  €1.2m for increases in staff costs
    •  €600,000 for support of Ongwen confirmation of charges hearing
  • Judiciary: €670,000m (5.6%) increase
  • Trust Fund for Victims: €663,400 increase (36.5%) mainly related to reparations activities.

How does this compare to the 2015 ICC budget?

Last year, states approved a budget of €130.6m for 2015. This was an increase of 3.5% from 2014. However, it was a decrease of €8m on what the Court had proposed to the CBF—largely to implement the ICC prosecutor’s new investigation and prosecution strategy. It was also €1.98m or 1.5% less of what the CBF itself had recommended.

The ability of the Court and its organs to carry out its work—and ultimately to remain an independent international justice mechanism—is based on the CBF’s findings.

While we take no position on the specific amount of resources that should be allocated to the ICC in any given year, we believe that the Committee’s review of the request and its recommendations should be the bare minimum focus of the Assembly’s consideration.

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