The 14th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court started today at the World Forum in The Hague, Netherlands. The Assembly will run until 26 November.
We bring you a summary of today’s plenary sessions, elections and side events, as well as related news coverage, documents and websites.
Civil society advocacy papers to the ASP are available on our website. Official ASP documents and journals can be found on the ICC-ASP website. Follow us on Twitter with the hashtag #ASP14 for real time updates from the Assembly. View and download images on the Coalition for the ICC Flickr account.
The Assembly’s fourteenth session opened with a statement by its President, Sidiki Kaba, who outlined the day’s agenda, followed by a moment for silent prayer or meditation.
The ASP president invited, following the Rules of Procedure of the ASP, non-states parties to the Rome Statute to participate. He proceeded with the adoption of the agenda which included three additional items proposed by Kenya and South Africa to discuss Rule 68 and articles 97 and 98 of the Rome Statute.
ICC President Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi presented the report on the activities of the Court in 2015 reflecting on milestones decisions regarding reparations and on judicial activities, including the ongoing efforts as part of the judicial lessons learned process. She also stressed the importance of the UNSC cooperation, in particular regarding referrals, the independence of the Court and its presence on the field.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda took the floor reminding the crucial importance of states cooperation, separation of powers as well as financial support.
Presentation of the Report of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims
The Chair of the TFV reflected on the first plan issued by the Trust Fund earlier in November in the Lubanga case, described as an unprecedented step in international justice. He also highlight the TFV activities in other situation countries such as Uganda and Central African Republic.
Presentation of the Report of the Oversight Committee on the Permanent Premises
As the mandate of the committee ends at this Assembly, tt has been confirmed that the Court will move to its new permanent premises in December 2015 although cases will take place there only in spring 2016.
Presentation of the Report on the activities of the Bureau
The Bureau underlined various aspects that could be strengthen to improve the efficiency of the ICC, including cooperation, universality and domestic prosecutions. The Bureau thanked the Coalition and its members for their support.
The General debate commenced after lunch. ASP participants used this opportunity to address issues relating to the Assembly’s work and the wider Rome Statute system of international justice.
The following states spoke before the Assembly : Ethiopia on behalf of the African Union, Botswana, Australia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Burundi, Czech Republic, Mexico, Luxembourg on behalf of the EU, Palestine, Slovenia, Canada, Finland, Peru.
Trust Fund for Victims Board
There were six nominees for the five-member Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) Board of Directors. With each geographic region allotted one Board member, the nominees from the Asia-Pacific states, Latin American and Caribbean states, and Western European and other states were elected by consensus, in accordance with ASP procedures and custom. The four consensus nominees for the Board of Directions were:
Felipe Raúl Michelini (Uruguay, Latin American and Caribbean States) is a human rights attorney and the Honorary Commissioner of the Uruguayan Working Group for Truth and Justice.
Motoo Noguchi (Japan, Asia-Pacific States) is the current Chair of the TFV BoD, a prosecutor for the Japanese Ministry of Justice, and a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo.
Baroness Arminka Helić (United Kingdom, Western European Countries and Other States) serves on the steering board for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, is the director of the NGO JP.D.H London Ltd, and is a Member of the House of Lords.
Two seats remain vacant as the elections of the African and the Eastern Europe board members will be decided at a later date.
In the evening No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) hosted a reception for the opening of its Caesar Files Exhibition. The Coalition members met with ASP President Sidiki Kaba to discuss a range of issues that will be discussed during the Assembly.
Tomorrow at the ASP
The ASP will pick up again tomorrow with the continuation of its general debate session, including from members of civil society.
The plenary discussion on complementarity (national prosecutions of grave crimes) will also take place on Thursday, as well as several side events, including:
- Justice Rapid Response: Annual General Report and Introduction of JRR’s International Investigations Deployment Fund as a way of strengthening the international community’s investigative capacity (co-hosted by Finland on behalf of the Justice Rapid Response Executive Board)
- Towards a Multilateral Treaty for Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition for Domestic Prosecution of Atrocity Crimes (co-hosted by Argentina, Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia)
- Africa can bridge the international criminal justice divide: between policy and practice (cohosted by The Netherlands and the Institute for Security Studies)
- The place of victims in national procedures and the ICC” (hosted by Club des Amis du droit du Congo (CAD))
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