On 28 November 2013 the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“the Assembly”) concluded its twelfth session in The Hague.
The Assembly adopted eight resolutions by consensus: on the 2014 budget, on permanent premises, on cooperation, on complementarity, on victims and affected communities, on the establishment of the Independent Oversight Mechanism, on amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and on Strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties.
The resolution on permanent premises welcomed the beginning of the actual construction of the permanent premises for the ICC, as well as the projected construction costs of €184.4 million, which is €5.6 million below the originally approved budget.
Through its resolution on cooperation, the Assembly expressed serious concerns about the outstanding arrests or surrender requests against 14 persons. The Assembly thus adopted a roadmap for achieving an operational tool to enhance expeditious execution of arrest and surrender orders.
The resolution on complementarity called again upon States, international organizations and civil society as well as the Court to submit information on their complementarity related activities to the Secretariat, the organ tasked by the Assembly to continue the facilitation of exchange of information on this topic.
In the resolution on victims and affected communities, the Assembly recalled its invitation to States Parties to act in solidarity with victims of the crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court, to play an active role in sensitizing communities affected by these crimes, in particular victims of sexual and gender based violence as well as other vulnerable groups. States Parties are invited to combat marginalization and stigmatization of victims, and promoting a culture of accountability for these crimes.
With the resolution on the Independent Oversight Mechanism, the Assembly operationalized the mandates of investigation, inspection and evaluation foreseen in article 112, paragraph 4, of the Statute.
Via the resolution on Amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Assembly adopted several amendments thereon. The amendment to rule 68 facilitates the use of prior recorded testimony in trial. The amendment to rule 100 facilitates the decision for the Court to sit in a State other than the host State, to hear a case in whole or in part. Further, the Assembly adopted new rules 134 bis, ter and quater on the use of video technology, excusal from presence at trial and excusal from presence at trial due to extraordinary public duties. These amendments, which entered into force upon adoption by the Assembly, are intended to improve the efficiency of the Court’s proceedings while safeguarding the rights of the accused.
Via the resolution on strengthening the ICC and the Assembly (omnibus resolution), States Parties, inter alia, stressed the need for continuous monitoring of the efficiency of the revised legal aid system to uphold and strengthen the principles of the legal aid system, and endorsed the “Revised Roadmap” of the Assembly’s Study Group on Governance which further facilitates the efficient and structured dialogue between all stakeholders within the Rome Statute system to consider proposals aimed at expediting the criminal process of the Court.
Furthermore, with regard to strategic planning, the Assembly requested the Bureau to continue to engage in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders with the aim to develop a coordinated and comprehensive approach vis-à-vis the strategic planning, including the communication strategy, of the Court.
The omnibus resolution also amended the timeline for the nomination of judges which would thus commence 32 weeks before the election. Since the Assembly would hold its thirteenth session in New York from 8 to 17 December 2014, the nomination period for the six judges to be elected in December 2014 would tentatively open on 28 April 2014. This would allow the Advisory Committee on the Nomination of judges to submit its report to the Assembly well in advance of the thirteenth session.
The Assembly also amended rule 29 of its Rules of Procedure regarding the commencement of the term of office of the members of the Bureau who would be elected as of 2016.
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