The schedule for Day Two of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Assembly of States Parties (ASP) was packed, with a continuation of the General Debate, informal consultations on the draft resolution “Review of the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute system”, and informal consultations on the 2020 budget on the schedule.
The General Debate continued from Day One, with statements by States Parties to the Rome Statute, observer states and representatives of civil society. Several themes continued from the day prior, including expressions of state and civil society concerns about threats directed against the ICC and the challenges the ICC is facing. Many called for all States Parties to step up their diplomatic support for the Court and to take action.
Another key theme stressed by many speakers is the need for States Parties to nominate and elect the most highly qualified individuals to serve as ICC judges in the 2020 judicial elections. For example, Melinda Reed, Acting Convenor of the Coalition for the ICC (representing over 2500 organizations from 150 countries) stated: “States parties have a critical responsibility to ensure the best leadership of the court and the Assembly, and we urge you to ensure the nomination and election of highly-qualified and independent candidates through fair, transparent, and merit-based nomination and election processes. This Assembly has before it a draft resolution on judicial elections which can greatly contribute to improving the elections process. We call on you to adopt the resolution without hesitation.”
Additionally, more states joined calls for the amendment of the Rome Statute to include the war crime of starvation as a method of warfare in non-international armed conflict,
States also welcomed the initiative to implement an independent expert review of the ICC by highly qualified experts.
Civil society organizations from all regions of the world presented statements, making recommendations on a host of issues, including the budget. For example, Drissa Traoré, FIDH Secretary General, indicated: “Supporting the Court also comes through the adoption of a budget that meets the ICC’s real needs so it can effectively carry out its mandate in favour of the main beneficiaries: the victims of the most serious crimes and affected communities.”
It was a busy day for side-events covering a wide variety of issues such as the Draft Convention on Crimes Against Humanity, complementarity in Uganda, interim release of accused, decision-making within the ICC, intermediaries, the prosecution of economic and financial crimes, state and regional cooperation with the ICC, prosecutions in other fora, and standardizing processes for international criminal investigations. Additionally, Argentina, Belgium, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Senegal and Slovenia co-sponsored an event on their joint Mutual Legal Assistance Initiative, “Towards the convention on International Cooperation in the Investigation and Prosecution of the Crimes of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes.”
IntLawGrrls’ coverage of the ICC ASP will continue on Day Three, which will see negotiations on the Court’s budget, the omnibus resolution, and the review of the Court.