ICC Assembly of States Parties Symposium: Day 7

The official schedule of Day 7 of the International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties (ASP) included the presentation of reports by Coordinators and the introduction of draft resolutions – a signal that we are entering the final days of the ASP. As well, States Parties participated in a closed Working Group discussion on the budget, as well as a (lengthy) closed evening discussion on the activation of the crime of aggression.

While not formally part of the ASP, much attention was focused on the Prosecutor’s 26th report to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur, Sudan. TheProsecutor UNSC Security Council referred the Darfur situation to the ICC in 2005, through Resolution 1593, but has done little to assist the ICC since that time, while still requiring her to report twice yearly on the Court’s progress in the related cases and investigations. The Prosecutor’s frustration was evident. She expressed deep concern regarding States Parties’ inaction on arresting Sudan’s indicted President, and the Security Council’s inaction both on funding the ICC’s Darfur investigation and in dealing with states failing to cooperate with the Court.

The Prosecutor highlighted the argument made by some states that the law is unclear about their obligation to arrest and surrender a sitting Head of State. She rejected these arguments: “For those who may have entertained doubts about the legal obligations of States Parties and the Republic of the Sudan to arrest and surrender Mr. Al Bashir, all such doubts have since been dispelled following the decision of Pre- Trial Chamber II of the 6th of July, earlier this year … The Chamber found that South Africa failed to comply with the Court’s request to arrest and surrender Mr. Al Bashir, contrary to the Rome Statute, and that this failure prevented the Court from exercising its functions and powers under the Statute … there can be no justification for States Parties to fail to arrest a suspect against whom an ICC warrant of arrest has been issued, irrespective of that person’s official status.”

She concluded by saying that it is her Office’s hope “that this Council will do its part to enforce decisions by the Court in relation to situations which the Council itself has referred to the Court.  This specific inter-institutional role is clearly envisaged by the Rome Statute and codified, as negotiated during the Rome Conference, which also saw the participation of permanent members of the Council.”

Tomorrow, the ASP will begin with a plenary meeting to plan for the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. Closed meetings on the budget and on the activation of the crime of aggression will continue. Informal consultations on the ‘omnibus’ resolution will resume, for adoption on the last day of the ASP.

I am pleased that Isabelle Jacovella Rémillard joins us today to contribute a post on side-events at the ICC ASP focused on sexual and gender-based violence.

Isabelle is a Project Coordinator at theIJR-Portrait-Copy Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ). She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at the University of Ottawa and her double degree in civil law and common law at McGill University. She also holds a professional certificate in Disaster and Humanitarian Response from the McGill Humanitarian Studies Initiative.

Prior to working at CCIJ, she was involved in immigration and refugee law work, both as the Coordinator of the Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, where she worked alongside the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and at Solidarity Across Borders, where she provided assistance to asylum seekers.

As the Project Coordinator of the Community Engagement in International Justice project, Isabelle coordinates the implementation of the project, which includes new multimedia that showcases CCIJ’s clients and their access to justice efforts. She is also responsible for coordinating CCIJ’s digital outreach and organising legal education workshops with affected communities as part of this project.

 Heartfelt welcome, Isabelle, to the IntLawGrrls ICC ASP Symposium!

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