What is the Assembly of States Parties? 

The Assembly of States Parties (Assembly) is the ICC’s management oversight and legislative body. It is composed of all states parties that have ratified or acceded to the ICC Rome Statute.

The Assembly provides the ICC with oversight and takes decisions on issues of importance for the success of the Court, such as election of officials, its annual budget, matters of cooperation and non-cooperation, complementarity and amendments the Rome Statute and other rules. While doing so, ICC States Parties should not interfere with the judicial or prosecutorial independence of the Court, and ensure that the integrity of the Rome Statute is protected and defended.

The success of the ICC depends on the good functioning and decisions of the States Parties. Civil society closely follows the discussions and decisions of the Assembly and plays a vital role in urging States Parties to uphold their responsibility to make the Rome Statute system of international justice effective. Throughout the year and at its annual sessions, the Coalition advocates for the Assembly to provide the Court with diplomatic and concrete support such as cooperation and financial resources, make transparent and well-informed decisions, and support and protect civil society and human rights defenders in the Rome Statute system. Civil society also advocates against political interference with the judicial or prosecutorial independence of the ICC, constantly reminding the Assembly of its role and responsibilities in the Rome Statute system.  


Topics that the Assembly of States Parties discusses and decides on include:

How does the Assembly of States Parties work?

Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties
The Assembly has an executive committee -the Bureau- consisting of a president, two vice presidents, and 18 States Parties elected by the Assembly every three years. The Bureau assists the Assembly in implementing its various mandates between annual sessions and meets regularly throughout the year in The Hague and New York. The Bureau has two working groups: the New York Working Group (NYWG) and the Hague Working Group (HWG), chaired by one Assembly Vice-president.  In addition to taking decisions at each annual session, the Assembly tasks the Bureau with facilitating discussions during the following year on a number of issues that will be significant to the activities of the ICC and the Assembly. These topics are then assigned to either The Hague or New York Working Groups, and (co-) facilitators or (co-) focal points from States Parties are appointed to lead specific discussions. A permanent secretariat assists the Assembly, the Bureau, and other subsidiary committees in carrying out their work.

Annual Sessions
The Assembly of States Parties meets once a year in full plenary session. Each State Party has a vote in the Assembly. The sessions take place at the seat of the Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, or at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York, USA, once a year.

States Parties use the annual Assembly sessions to discuss and decide upon important issues related to the non-judicial administration of the ICC and the Rome Statute system as a whole.  Such issues may include core obligations of States Parties in relation to cooperation and complementarity, as well as vital institutional matters like the annual ICC budget and the efficiency of Court proceedings. The Assembly also elects ICC leaders such as ICC judges and the Prosecutor, various subsidiary committees, such as the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF) and the Advisory Committee on the Nominations of Judge (ACN). In addition, the Assembly considers the reports on the activities of the Assembly Bureau, the Court and the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims.

While the outcomes of each annual Assembly session differ according to the specific issues discussed in any given year, they usually fall under recurring general topics.  At each Assembly session since 2003, the Assembly has adopted a Resolution on “Strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties.” (Omnibus resolution). The “omnibus resolution” addresses a wide range of substantive, practical, and policy issues in relation to the Court, the Assembly, and other stakeholders, and is an important document for the Assembly to take stock and express its support for the Court as an independent judicial body, and to resolve to uphold the principles enshrined in the Rome Statute. The Assembly plenary also adopts separate or ‘stand-alone’ resolutions, for example on the ICC budget, cooperation, or amendments.

General Debate
At the beginning of each annual session, a general debate is organized to provide an opportunity for Assembly participants to address issues related to the Assembly’s work, and to the wider Rome Statute system of international justice. Civil society also takes part in the General Debate, with a dozen statements where NGO representatives share their concerns and recommendations before the Assembly, which is of great value when some topics of concern to civil society are not prominently featured – if at all – on the Assembly session’s agenda. The points raised by civil society during the General Debate often inform the decision-making process of states parties throughout the rest of the Assembly session and in the following year.

During the annual session, Assembly participants, including civil society organizations, organize a large number of side-events. Civil society side events create a platform for dialogue between the participating NGOs on the one hand, and the Court and States Parties on the other. 

Assembly Observers
States that signed the Statute but have not ratified it, or signed the Final Act of the Rome Conference, as well as regional and international organizations, civil society, and the media may participate in Assembly meetings with an ‘observer’ status. Observers may, for example, make statements during the Assembly session General Debate or in other plenary discussions, or provide updates on progress towards ratification and/or implementation of the Rome Statute, the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court (APIC), or the conclusion of voluntary cooperation agreements with the Court. Observer states cannot vote or take part in decision-making of the Assembly. The Coalition for the ICC facilitates the participation of civil society organisations at the Assembly annual session and represents the largest delegation during the Assembly sessions. Civil society organisations interact with governments and other delegates to advocate for a fair, effective and independent ICC. Pressing issues are addressed through advocacy documents, letters, meetings, press briefings, and other events. The consultative arrangements for NGOs with the Assembly and the Court are extraordinary and this constructive cooperation is evident throughout the Assembly sessions. 

Assembly subsidiary bodies
There are a number of independent Assembly subsidiary bodies which seek to enhance the effectiveness and independence of the work of the Court and its Assembly.

The Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF) is an elected technical expert body tasked with evaluating any document submitted to the Assembly that contains financial or budgetary implications, including the Court’s annual budget, then making recommendations to the Assembly on the unique budgetary needs of the Court. The 12 members of the CBF are elected by the Assembly for a three-year term.

The Advisory Committee on the Nomination (ACN) is a technical body mandated to contribute towards ensuring that the most highly qualified individuals are appointed as Judges of the Court by assessing judicial candidates based on the requirements of Article 36 of the Rome Statute and makes its resulting analyses available to States Parties and observers.

The members of the ACN are elected for a three-year term, with the possibility for re-election only once.

The Independent Oversight Mechanism (IOM) was established by the Assembly to provide meaningful oversight of the Court through the conduct of inspections and evaluations at the request of the Assembly or its Bureau, and to undertake investigations at its own discretion into reports received of suspected misconduct, serious misconduct, or unsatisfactory behavior concerning elected officials, staff members, and other Court personnel.

The Office of Internal Audit (OIA) assists the Court in achieving its strategic and operational objectives by systematically reviewing systems and operations across all areas of the Court. These audits are aimed at identifying how well potential threats and opportunities are managed including whether the most effective structures, policies and processes are in place, and whether agreed procedures are being adhered to.

Assembly of States Parties 2023

The 22nd session of the Assembly of States Parties took place from 4-14 December 2023 at the UN Headquarters, in New York, U.S.

All you need to know

Previous Annual Assembly Sessions


Assembly of States Parties 22
The twenty-second session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took place from 4-14 December 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York. READ MORE

Assembly of States Parties 21
The twenty-first session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took place from 5-10 December 2022 in The Hague. READ MORE

Assembly of States Parties 20
The twentieth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took place from 6-11 December 2021 in The Hague. READ MORE

Assembly of States Parties 19
The nineteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took place from 14-16 December 2020 in The Hague, with a first resumption from 17-23 December and a second resumption on 8 February in New York. READ MORE

Assembly of States Parties 18
The eighteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took place from 2- 6 December 2019 in The Hague. READ MORE

Assembly of States Parties 17
The seventeenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took place from 5 - 12 December 2018 in The Hague, The Netherlands. READ MORE

Assembly of States Parties 16
The sixteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took place from 4 - 14 December 2017 in New York. READ MORE

Assembly of States Parties 15
The fifteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took place from16 - 24 November 2016 in The Hague, The Netherlands. READ MORE

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