Building better institutions for global justice

Assembly of States Parties 2017

13 December 2017

NGOs talk shop with new ASP President

Day seven at ASP16 began with a meeting between NGOs and ASP President-elect Mr. O-Gon Kwon of the Republic of Korea. The former International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia judge, who is set to take the helm from outgoing ASP President Sidiki Kaba of Senegal from 2018 to 2020, heard from a number of NGOs on their expectations and interests for the direction the new ASP President will steer the Assembly in over the next three years.

NGOs attending the meeting raised a number of topics with the new ASP President, from his role overseeing any further discussions on activation of the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction over the crime of aggression should the Assembly fail to arrive at such a decision, to the need for the ASP to develop a more serious approach to address instances of non-cooperation—including elaboration of ASP procedures around non-cooperation and institutionalization of discussions on non-cooperation at the annual ASP session.

NGOs also highlighted a pattern of ‘shrinking space’ for civil society working on ICC matters, reminding of NGOs’ historic access to and voice in the international justice process since the 1998 Rome Conference.

Later in the day, after receiving a progress report on ASP16 and being introduced to draft resolutions, ICC member states resumed consultations on resolutions that may touch upon numerous of the issues raised with Judge Kwon during his first year as ASP President, and beyond.

News: Prosecutor challenges Security Council to break pattern of non-cooperation

Today, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda presented her 26th report to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the situation in Darfur, Sudan, which was referred by the body to the Court in 2005.

Prosecutor Bensouda referred to her numerous past reports on the situation, which have “highlighted the consistent failure of the Council to act when a number of States Parties to the Rome Statute have welcomed Mr Omar Al Bashir as an ICC suspect to their territories.” Furthermore, the Prosecutor pointed to the “Court’s legal jurisprudence” reaffirming the non-existence of “legal lacuna or ambiguity concerning States Parties' obligation to arrest and surrender ICC suspects to the Court's custody when they travel to their territories.”

The Prosecutor made reference to the work of civil society demonstrating its own disapproval and frustration through legal channels in the instance al-Bashir’s recent visit to Uganda. “It is my understanding that due to the efforts of civil society, in particular the Uganda Victims' Foundation, an application was filed at the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Uganda requesting, among other things, a warrant of arrest to be issued and executed against Mr Al Bashir.”

The Prosecutor also issued a reminder to the Council of the important role it must continue to play, just as its members did during the Rome negotiations leading to the creation of the ICC. “It is my Office's hope that this message will be heeded and furthermore, 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.”

Read the full statement

Side event spotlight: GQUAL event on a better balance for a better justice

In the margins of the ASP negotiations today, a new topic was on the agenda: how to improve Gender Equality at the ICC. In a passionate panel discussion, ICC Registrar Herman von Hebel started by sharing recent efforts to enhance gender representation at the ICC, especially in higher level staff. One effort is the setting up of an ICC Focal Point for Women, initiated by ICC President Fernandez. The ICC Focal Point for Women would be launched early 2018, as the next panelist Kim Prost, Chef de Cabinet to the President of the International Criminal Court and ICC Judge-elect, explained. Next panelist and leader of the GQUAL Campaign Viviana Krsticevic – the Executive Director of CEJIL (Center for Justice and International Law) – set out the broader context of the issue of female underrepresentation of women in international judicial bodies. Ms. Krsticevic went on to invite the audience present to explore and use the many resources developed by GQUAL to advance the discussion on all levels, such as statistics on representation of all 84 international bodies GQUAL monitors. Mama Koite Doumbia – the President of the Mali CICC and TFV Board Member, fervently contextualized the cultural issues at the very core of gender inequality by sharing anecdotes from her personal life. Jelena Pia-Comella, Deputy Executive Director of the Coalition for the ICC, moderated the discussion and summarized the panel’s conclusion that much still needs to be done to advance gender balance in all international bodies, as well as at the ICC.

Side event central: Day seven

Side events on day seven of ASP16 kicked off with How to improve gender equality in the ICC Staff, co-organized by the Coalition for the ICC, the GQUAL Campaign, and the government of Estonia.

Justice for sexual and gender-based crimes under the Rome Statute was the subject of several side events on day seven: Accountability for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence as a Method of Warfare was co-organized by Darfur Women Action Group, Switzerland, and Costa Rica; meanwhile, Accountability for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Crimes: Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq was co-hosted by the United Kingdom, Norway, and the Centre for International Law Research and Policy.

Stocktaking in international justice is becoming an increasingly relevant topic as the Rome Statute's 20th anniversary approaches. Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, the Netherlands, and Botswana co-organized The ICC as a Catalyst for National Justice: Lessons from Côte d'Ivoire for the Central African Republic.

The latest developments on the implementation of the peace accord with regards to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia - and how this plays with regards to the ICC preliminary examination - underlied discussions in Challenges of the Colombian Peace Process: Guaranteeing victims' rights under the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, co-hosted by Canada, Comisión Colombiana de Juristas, Corporación Humanas, and Lawyers Without Borders Canada.

The Tweets From Day 7

Tomorrow at ASP

  • ASP16 will hold a plenary meeting to plan for the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute (10:00-12:00 pm)
  • The Working Group on the Budget is open only to ICC member states and Court staff (12:00-13:00 pm)
  • Informal consultations on the 'omnibus' resolution will resume, for adoption on the last day of ASP16


Several of side events will also take place on the penultimate day of ASP16:

  • Prosecuting Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Canada to the UN and UN Women (13:15-14:30, Permanent Mission of Canada, 885 2nd Avenue, 14th floor)
  • TOWARDS THE CREATION OF A LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN CRIMINAL COURT AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME, co-hosted by Democracia Global of Argentina, World Federalist Movement, and the Republic of Argentina (13:15-14:30, UNCR 7)


Recent documents

Statement of the Convenor of the Coalition for the ICC, Mr. William Pace at ASP16 General Debate

Republic of South Africa International Crimes Bill (8 December 2017)