ASP 14 Day 2: Civil society calls for defense of ICC independence

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ASP 14 Day 2: Civil society calls for defense of ICC independence © Matias Bercovich/CICC

Day two of the annual Assembly of States Parties continued in The Hague today, with the continuation of general debate statements by governments and civil society, a segment on national prosecutions of grave crimes with a special focus on sexual and gender based crimes, and several side events.

ICC Prosecutor meets with civil society

In the morning on the sidelines of the Assembly, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda met with civil society to discuss the status of her different investigations as well as the strategies of her office.

Plenary sessions

The general debate continued with interventions from states and civil society, focusing around the ICC’s independence, cooperation, its annual budget and national prosecutions, sexual and gender based crimes, among others.

The following states made their statement before the Assembly: France, Tunisia, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Liechtenstein, Germany, Uruguay, Portugal, Afghanistan, Mali, Chile, Republic of Korea, Costa Rica, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Norway, Bangladesh, Samoa, Brazil, Ghana, Iceland, Romania, Venezuela, Panama, Equator, Gambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Estonia, the Philippines. The International Organization of La Francophone spoke before the Assembly.

Several states reiterated their support to the Court and called on governments to cooperate with the ICC to strengthen its impact and advance the fight against impunity.

Several states called the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC, joining the call of other governments and dozens civil society organizations to end the impunity for grave crimes committed in the country.

11 civil society representatives also took the floor at the general debate.

Special session on national prosecutions, with a focus on sexual and gender based crimes

In the afternoon session on national prosecutions, with a focus on sexual and gender based crimes, states and civil society stressed the importance of investigating ICC crimes at the national level through the principle of complementarity, with a special focus on sexual and gender based crimes under the leadership of Sweden and Botswana. Civil society called on states to improve access to justice for victims of such crimes.

Side events

Africa can bridge the international criminal justice divide between policy and practice

Speakers:

Ottila Anna Maunganidze, ISS

Dr Max du Plessis, ISS
Chino Obiagwu, Nigerian Coalition for the ICC

The event discussed ICC preliminary examinations and situations in West Africa, and lessons from the region in fighting impunity, including domestic and regional initiatives like the tribunal in Senegal to try former Chadian leader Hissène Habré. It also considered developments across Africa where transitional justice processes have been used, as well as prospects for a tribunal in South Sudan. In Southern Africa, the landmark decision of South Africa’s Constitutional Court on the Zimbabwe torture case establishes a progressive framework for prosecuting crimes.

The place of victims in national procedures and the ICC

Speakers:
Eugene Bakama Bope, Le Club des amis du droit du Congo,
Jacques Mbokani, Le Club des amis du droit du Congo
Angela Mudukuti, South African Litigation Centre – South Africa
Gilbert Bitti, FICHL

The DRC justice system has gaps concerning the victims’ participation to trials and NGOs could help filling it. South Africa is a good example of implementation of the Rome Statute in its national law and gives a lot of place to victims for participation, including through the help of civil society. As for the ICC, the Rome Statute provides for participation of victims to procedures but it comes out of the discussions that it is yet to be really effective before the Court.

Towards a Multilateral Treaty for Mutual Assistance and Extradition for Domestic Prosecution of Atrocity Crimes

Speakers:
Roman Kirn – ambassador of Slovenia to the United States
Hassan Jallow – prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Gerard Dive – president of the Belgian Task Force for International Criminal Justice
Maarten van der Vlught, councellor legal adviser Justice Office of the Netherlands
Raul Comelli, legal adviser for Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina

States need to sign up to a multilateral treaty which would assure international legal cooperation for domestic prosecutions for atrocity crimes. 48 states are already members of this rapidly growing initiative. Such a treaty would help fight impunity by making domestic legal procedures more efficient through improved cooperation.

Digital Evidence: The Present and Future of ICC Investigations

Speakers:
Alexa Keinig director of the Human Rights Initiative (Chair)
Alison Cole: OSJI
Christina Ribero: OTP ICC
Keith Hyatt: University of Berkeley

Tomorrow at the ASP

The ASP will pick up again tomorrow with the continuation of its general debate session, which will deal on cooperation in the morning and budget in the afternoon session.

The Coalition will host a side event along with Luxembourg and the European External Action Service: Global Civil Society & European States: What can be done to advance international justice.

Have a look at some other side events organized by our members that will take place:

  • Civil Society and the International Criminal Court: Local Perspectives on Fact-Finding (co-hosted by Open Society Justice Initiative and the Philippines)
  • Complementary: Beyond the ICC (co-hosted by Uganda, Africa Legal Aid, and Southern Africa Litigation Centre)
  • Palestine and the ICC: Accountability Opportunities and Obligations (co-hosted by the State of Palestine, FIDH, and Al Haq organization and Open Society Justice Initiative)
  • Guidelines for NGOs Engaged in Documentation of Grave Violations of Human Rights (hosted by Open Society Justice Initiative)

News coverage

ICC prosecutor highlights safeguarding independent judicial functions at ASP 14.

In an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the annual ASP, Bensouda answered some of the criticisms of the court and her work.

Civil society plays an important role in implementing the Court’s mandate. But to what extent does this apply to fact finding?

5 main takeaways from latest ICC report.

Civil society was well represented at ASP 14: FIDH delegation at the 14th session of the ICC Assembly of States Parties.

Related documents

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 live updates from the Assembly. View and download images on the Coalition for the ICC Flickr account.

Sign up today to receive daily ASP updates directly in your inbox.

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One Response to ASP 14 Day 2: Civil society calls for defense of ICC independence

  1. The International Criminal Court works to protect sex and gender discrimination. Support is need by all member countries in this process.

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