Day three of the annual Assembly of States Parties continued in The Hague today, with the plenary discussing cooperation before considering additional agenda items submitted by Kenya and South Africa, and several side events organized by civil society, governments and others.
Special session on cooperation
The cooperation session was divided into two parts, one on voluntary agreements, the second on general cooperation.
Belgium, which signed voluntary agreements with the ICC, spoke of the benefits of voluntary cooperation agreements to both the Court and states parties.
Civil society also took the floor. the International Bar Association highlighted that despite state parties pledges to engage into voluntary agreements during the Revision Conference of Kampala in 2010, the numbers remain appallingly low.
The ICC principals – the president, the prosecutor and the registrar – also addressed the Assembly urging the international community to provide the Court with the support it needs to fulfill its mandate properly.
In the afternoon session, the Assembly considered the additional agenda items submitted by Kenya and South Africa and Rule 68 and articles 97 and 98 of the Rome Statute.
Palestine and the ICC: Advocacy Opportunities and Legal Obligations
Majed Bamia, State Representative of Palestine
Mr. Shawan Jabarin, Director of Al- Haq and Vice President of FIDH
Mr. James Goldston, Executive Director of Open Justice Initiative
Professor John Dugard
This side event covered the role of the International Criminal Court and in particular the Office of the Prosecutor in ensuring accountability for the grave crimes perpetrated in Palestine and/or by Palestinian nationals. The preliminary examination of the case of Palestine is currently undertaken by the Office of the prosecutor, based on events taking place in Gaza, in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank. The speakers underlined both the opportunities and risks of this process that will be crucial for the ICC and Palestine.
Global Civil Society & European States: What can be done to advance international justice?
Kirsten Meersschaert, Coalition for the ICC
Ambassador Carlo Krieger, Luxembourg, Presidency for EU Council
Dr. Christian Behrmann, EU External Action Service
Dr. Aman Savarian, Lecturer in Law, University of Surry, UK/Armenia
Mr. Michael Y. Liu, Executive Director, Chinese Initiative on International Law, China
Ms. Gladwell Otieno, Executive director, Africa Center for Open Governance, Kenya
Ms. Linda Carter, Prof. at Law, AMICC, US
Mr. Lothar Lehnert, EU Genocide Network Secretariat
Today representatives from the Presidency of the European Presidency, Luxembourg, the European Union External Action Service, and the EU Genocide Network Secretariat met with members of civil society from around the world to discuss various recommendations for the EU on international justice and clarifications of ratification efforts around the world. Particularly, the EU External Action Service reiterated its commitment to meeting consistently with civil society. One major constructive suggestion across the board was working to engage local actors in government and civil society to ease the process of implementation after ratification.
Civil Society and the International Criminal Court: local perspectives on fact-finding
Tatiana Viviane Bangue – director of Femme-homme-action Plus (FHAP) in CAR
Thomas Ebbs – Programme officer for Lawyers for justice in Libya
Shawan Jabarin – Director of Al-Haq in Palestine
Panhavuth Long – consultant for Cambodia Justice Initiative
Araceli M. Olivos – coordinator of the defense at CENTROPRODH in Mexico
Beatrice Okero – team leader at CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS network in Kenya
Lino Ogora Owor – Executive director at the Foundation for Justice and Development Initiatives in Uganda
Nancy Valdez – Transnational Justice Project coordinator of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation
This meeting was organized to discuss the different experiences that civil society encounters when collaborating with the Office of the Prosecutor in investigations and preliminary examinations. Central African Republic, Uganda and Libya were among the situations discussed.
Complementarity: Beyond the ICC
Evelyn A. Ankumah, AFLA Executive Director
Angela Mudukuti, International Criminal Justice Lawyer, South African Litigation Centre)
Stella Ndirangu, Programme Director, International Commission of Jurists from Kenya
AFLA described the principle of complementarity with a metaphor, likening national systems to the drivers and the ICC to a backseat passenger, ready to intervene only if the national system is unable to make its way. SALC stated that the absence of cases at the ICC should be the measure of complementarity. As such, states need to sign, ratify and domesticate the Rome Statute. SALC also noted the government claimed Bashir had immunity as he was visiting on an AU rather than SA invitation, and in response SALC notes Malawi’s decision to decline hosting the AU Summit the previous time due to Bashir’s invitation. ICJK noted it has been 8 years since the post-election violence in Kenya and there is still no local mechanism in place.
Coalition for the ICC media briefing
During the morning, the Coalition held a briefing for the media at pressing issues at ASP 14. Panelists included:
Alison Smith, Director, international justice programme, No Peace Without Justice
Shawan Jabarin, Executive Director, Al-Haq, Vice President, International Federation for Human Rights
Netsanet Belay, Africa Director, Amnesty International
Gladwell Otieno, Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Open Governance (TBC)
William Pace, Convenor, Coalition for the International Criminal Court, moderated the panel.
Tomorrow at the ASP
Initially scheduled on Friday, the plenary discussions on budget will start on Saturday with presentations by the Registrar and the Chair of the Committee on Budget and Finance. The new ICC permanent premises are also on the agenda.
Saturday will see several side events organized by civil society, states and the ICC:
States must lead on ensuring victims’ rights, co-hosted The Institute for Security Studies (ISS), REDRESS, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ))
From admission to reparation: hearing the voices of victims (co-hosted by the Victim’s Rights Working Group and Finland)
Enhancing the Court’s impact on the ground: A strategic approach to ICC field presences and external operations (organized by the ICC Registry)
Permanent Premises presentation (hosted by the Permanent Premises Project Director’s Office on behalf of the Oversight Committee)
United States affirms commitment to pursuing justice at the Assembly of States Parties.
Kenya intensifies lobbying efforts at ASP as Bensouda holds her ground.
2016 is set to be busiest year for ICC in terms for trials according to its president.
FIDH accuses some states of trying to undermine the ICC’s credibility.
Now is the time to strengthen the ICC, not to weaken it says Amnesty International.
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.
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