#NGOVoices at the 21st session of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC

Unprecedented political support to the ICC should translate into concrete action for justice.

The Coalition for the ICC will take part in the 21st session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) #ASP21, that will be held in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 5 to 11 December 2022. At each annual session, States Parties to the ICC Rome Statute (which established the International Criminal Court) discuss crucial issues for the governing of the Court and take decisions that have a direct impact on its work and the victims and communities it seeks to serve, and this year is no exception.  

In 2022, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute, the role of the ICC in the fight against impunity for the Rome Statute crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression was central to the international debate. This year in particular, for the global role of the ICC in securing the right to justice for victims where states are unable or unwilling, support to the ICC must go hand in hand with the provision of sufficient and sustainable resources in its regular budget to adequately match its growing workload and to ensure victims’ rights to information, participation, redress; outreach to victims and affected communities; with continued effective cooperation with its investigations; and with steadfast political support, in particular in the face of threats or attacks against it or against those cooperating with it.   

Ensuring the Court has adequate resources is essential for it to effectively exercise its mandate and meet the expectations placed on it not only by the States Parties funding it, but also by the victims and affected communities it seeks to serve in all situations that come before it. For many years now, negotiations of the ICC budget have taken place in a context in which the Court does not have the space to request the resources it needs, particularly as some States Parties seek to impose arbitrary financial limits which have long-lasting negative effects. Ultimately, the Court has been, year after year, left to do more and more with less and less. The adoption of a budget that is clearly inconsistent with the Court’s workload results in harm to victims’ access to justice and poses unjustifiable challenges the Court’s delivery of fair and accessible justice.  

The Coalition for the ICC calls for a fundamental change in the approach to the resources needed by the Court in its regular annual budget in order to meet the high expectations placed on it in a sustainable manner, without arbitrary limitations that may have a political effect or damage perceptions of the Court’s legitimacy and independence.  

This year, after the exceptional call by the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) and provision of voluntary financial and personnel resources by States Parties, the Coalition for the ICC calls on the ASP to ensure that adequate and sustainable financial resources be provided through the Court’s regular budget, without arbitrary limitations that may affect perceptions of the Court’s legitimacy and independence.  

Oftentimes, discussions around the Court’s budget are removed from the reality in situations where the Court operates. What may be a budget line on a page to a state representative in The Hague or New York may be an inadequately staffed field office resulting in limited outreach activities for affected communities in a situation country; a cut of a few percent can impact significantly access of documents in certain languages, victims’ meaningful participation in proceedings, or sufficient staff and capacity obliging all organs to prioritise certain activities over others, despite the increasing impunity gaps and expectations. 

Ahead of the 21st ASP session, Coalition members from around the world share their views and recommendations on what States and the Court can do, including during negotiations on the ICC’s budget, as well as looking ahead to 2023. See what civil society and HRDs from all around the world have to say:  

Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) on the situation in Myanmar and in the Philippines 

“The ICC must prioritise the ongoing Bangladesh/Myanmar investigation and show continued support for the pursuit of justice for all people of Myanmar as a signal to the perpetrators that they will be held accountable for crimes committed.” 

AJAR also shared the following quote by Nur, a Rohingya victim: “It is crucial for the ICC to hear the voices of the victims, those who were tortured, raped, and burned by the Myanmar military. We hope that the ICC will do more to listen to Rohingya victims, shedding light on our dire situation.” 


“The ICC must resume its investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity during the anti-drug operation in the Philippines. Along with the ongoing ICC investigation, the Philippines government must also strengthen its cooperation with international human rights mechanisms. The deferral request filed by the Philippines is only stalling the failed demonstration of domestic proceedings, where no prompt, effective, and investigation have been done for all the allegations. The ICC shall not allow itself to be swayed by the government’s claims and continue to proceed with the Court’s accountability process.” 

Al-Haq, Palestine 

Diana Alzeer, Head of Outreach and Communications:  
"While we welcomed the ICC and states' concrete engagement towards accountability for international crimes in different situations, we are deeply concerned by the lack of similar steps towards concluding the investigation in the situation in Palestine. This shows that there is selectivity and double standards in the application of international law, which threatens the credibility international organisations and leads Palestinians in general to lose the little remaining faith in the international legal and justice system. It is imperative that perpetrators of the most serious crimes everywhere are brought to justice.” 

Burundi national Coalition for the ICC / African Francophone Coalitions for the ICC Network (AFC-ICC) 

Lambert Nigarura, President of the Burundi National Coalition for the ICC and Secretary General of the network of African Francophone coalitions:  
“If the ICC had the adequate resources to match its workload, that is constantly increasing around the world, the positive impact on victims that the Burundi National CICC and other NGOs support would be greater, and the expectations placed upon this unique international court would be met”