The twentieth Meeting of States Events (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the Worldwide Felony Courtroom (ICC) shall be held in The Hague from 6-11 December 2021. FIDH’s Worldwide Justice Desk will take part along with different civil society organisations in monitoring developments and advocating for tactics for States Events to strengthen the Courtroom. Prematurely of the twentieth session, FIDH has ready this position paper, with six key suggestions to States Events. Guissou Jahangiri, FIDH Vice-President and Govt Director of OPEN ASIA – Armanshahr, will ship a speech for the opening plenary of the ASP, and share her experiences and long-standing work in Afghanistan.
With the help of some States Events, civil society leaders are holding varied aspect occasions specializing in key suggestions to this ASP’s agenda objects, together with on ICC conditions of worldwide crimes with voices from affected communities. FIDH will maintain three aspect occasions on: (1) the Impartial Skilled Assessment of the ICC; (2) FIDH OTP Stocktaking papers regarding sexual and gender-based crimes, preliminary examinations, and outreach to victims and affected communities; and (3) Complementarity. Keep tuned for FIDH updates within the lead-up to the twentieth session of the ASP.
What’s the Meeting of States Events about ?
1 July 2002: regardless of the reluctance of some main powers, similar to China and Russia, to ratify the Rome Statute adopted in 1998, the Worldwide Felony Courtroom (ICC) was lastly established. This court docket, based mostly in The Hague, slowly established its place inside the worldwide group, regardless of sure criticisms towards it, similar to the truth that it was too weak vis-à-vis sure powers, and the discontent that a few of its selections generated. Up to now, the Workplace of the Prosecutor has conducted numerous investigations and hundreds of witnesses and victims have been interviewed: a wealth of proof has been gathered and a lot of mass crimes documented. All of those efforts have led to a lot awaited trials and landmark verdicts. A number of instances have efficiently concluded, ranging from the issuance of arrest warrants to the ultimate conviction or acquittal of the accused, and orders for reparations to victims.
The Courtroom is revered – and generally feared – principally as a result of a majority of the world’s states have agreed to work collectively to fight impunity for probably the most critical crimes. This willingness has taken concrete type by the institution of a necessary physique: the Meeting of States Events (ASP). The ASP is a administration oversight and legislative physique through which states change and make selections, notably by voting, relating to the functioning of the ICC (together with voting on the finances, electing its important officers, and many others.).
It is because the ICC is each a global organisation and a judicial establishment. As a judicial establishment, it enjoys the independence it must fulfil its mandate. Civil society, together with FIDH, typically requires it to be revered. As a global organisation, nonetheless, states have a major position to play. It’s throughout the annual ASP periods that the Registrar, judges, Prosecutor, and Deputy Prosecutor are elected.
On the organisational aspect, the ASP has a Bureau consisting of a president, two vice-presidents and 18 members, elected for three-year phrases. These members don’t essentially have a political background: experience in justice or worldwide legislation can also be taken under consideration when they’re elected. From 2014 to 2017, the previous president of FIDH, Senegalese lawyer Sidiki Kaba, was the president of the ASP, adopted by the Korean choose O-Gon Kwon between 2017 and 2021. The present President, elected in February 2021, is Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi from Argentina. She additionally had a profession as a choose, together with a stint as an ICC choose, earlier than turning into its president from 2015 to 2018.
Nonetheless, the ASP doesn’t function in a vacuum, 123 States Events to the Rome Statute consistently monitor the sleek operating of the ICC, though a few of them attempt to defend their very own pursuits. Every year, they meet in The Hague or in New York. Lasting between one and two weeks relying on the 12 months, this meeting is a novel alternative to debate urgent points, and to debate the basic points of the Courtroom’s functioning, specifically the cooperation of states with the judicial establishment, the complementary nature of the instances earlier than the ICC and people performed on the nationwide degree, and the finances allotted for the next 12 months.
Whereas consensus is ideally sought throughout these discussions and deliberations, the debates are nonetheless energetic, an indication of the true democratic character of the Meeting. At the newest session, in December 2020, for instance, states had been preoccupied with the arduous selection of electing a brand new Prosecutor, who would have the troublesome activity of succeeding Fatou Bensouda from The Gambia, as well as six new judges(i.e. one third of the judges serving the Courtroom). The election was made much more advanced by the worldwide well being disaster, which pressured many members to take part remotely.
Naturally, ASP member states had been given time to replicate because the announcement of the list of candidates a few months earlier, and the opportunity to engage in dialogue and debate with these searching for this key place inside the Courtroom. It was a decent race given the vitalposition that the Prosecutor holds within the ICC edifice, and the complexity of the instances she or he would inherit, which could be topic to intense diplomatic stress. In the long run,it was the British lawyer Karim Khan, a specialist in worldwide legal legislation (Rwanda, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and many others.), who was chosen after a number of rounds of voting.
The ASP can also be an vital alternative for civil society organisations, together with these from nations the place worldwide crimes have been dedicated, to advocate their positions. They’re given an area to boost their issues, generally throughout plenary periods earlier than all of the delegates of the Member States, generally in so-called “parallel occasions” through which civil society but additionally states and varied Courtroom officers (Workplace of the Prosecutor, judges, and many others.) take part.
And it’s right here, alongside the various civil society organisations from nations immediately affected by the work of the ICC, that we, FIDH, in addition to our member organisations, intervene. We act, 12 months after 12 months, to focus on the wants of victims and affected communities, to demand efficient and significant sufferer participation, and to name for progress on conditions or instances which are drawn-out over too a few years. Getting ready for the ASP and organising these essential discussions is likely one of the key duties of FIDH’s everlasting workplace in The Hague. Established in 2004, it is likely one of the oldest civil society delegations current within the capital of worldwide legal justice. The workplace is made up of people who find themselves captivated with worldwide justice and who struggle every day to make sure that sure instances, similar to these regarding the conditions in Guinea and Colombia, should not buried for a very long time.
FIDH itself organises accompanying occasions to attract consideration to conditions that it and its member organisations take into account to be of concern, or to provoke debate on specific points related to sure conditions. For instance, in 2020, we highlighted the challenges confronted and supplied suggestions regarding the conditions in Mali, Venezuela and Mexico, in addition to on the continued technique of reviewing the efficiency of the ICC and the Rome Statute. On this manner, we’re capable of convey the issues and willpower of survivors of mass crimes who may not in any other case have had the chance to make their claims to states, particularly when the latter seems to have performed a task within the fee of such crimes.
Every year on the ASP, we additionally draft a sequence of suggestions for States Events. These are constructive criticisms, through which we encourage states, for instance, to collaborate extra successfully with the Courtroom of their implementation of arrest warrants, or to extend the finances allotted to the establishment, significantly with regard to the rights and participation of victims, which is significantly missing.
These suggestions are revealed prematurely of the occasion and distributed on web site. A few of these are additionally introduced in plenary periods earlier than state representatives, throughout a particular section granted to civil society. The duty is often entrusted to one in all our Vice Presidents, representing one in all FIDH’s member organisations, who, along with these suggestions, additionally raises issues about his or her nation or a scenario of specific concern within the present 12 months. This 12 months, FIDH will take the chance to focus on its flagship actions and publications of the 12 months, significantly on victims’ rights and participation on the ICC, in addition to overview Fatou Bensouda’s mandate and proposals to Prosecutor Karim Khan.