ICC - The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute opens its ninth session

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The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“the Assembly”) opened its ninth session at UNHQ, which will last from 6 to 10 December 2010.
Opening remarks were delivered by the President of the Assembly, Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and the President of Colombia, Mr. Juan Manuel Santos, followed by senior Court officials.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, recalled the historic Review Conference in Kampala and its momentous achievements with regard to the definition of the crime of aggression and the provisions under which the Court will exercise its jurisdiction with respect to the crime and urged all States to ratify the amendments. Furthermore, Mr. Ban Ki-moon recalled that the Court is the centerpiece of the system of international criminal justice. He also emphasized the crucial importance of States complying with their responsibilities to enforce all outstanding arrest warrants.
President Wenaweser recalled the accomplishments of the Review Conference, and the fact that all decisions in Kampala had been adopted by consensus. He also joined the Secretary-General of the UN in his call to ratify the amendments to the Rome Statute adopted at the Review Conference. He also highlighted the challenges arising for the Assembly from situations where full cooperation by States was not forthcoming and furthermore emphasized the need to establish a dialogue between States Parties and the Court, which would address the needs of both sides as partners in the common effort to fight impunity.
President Juan Manuel Santos asserted the strong commitment of Colombia to fight against impunity at the national level. He recalled that under the Rome Statute, the leading role in combating these crimes lies with States and that the Court should step in only when States are unwilling or unable to do so. President Santos not only underscored the commitment of his administration to provide reconciliation and reparation to victims of violence at the domestic level but also pledged to make a donation to the Trust Fund for Victims. President Santos also expressed the commitment of Colombia to assist and work with the Court for peace and justice as a UN Security Council member starting January 2011.
The President of the ICC, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, noted the recent achievements of the Court, which included increased judicial activity. Furthermore, he appealed to States to continue with their financial contributions to the Court so that it can fulfill its mandate. Lastly, he stressed the importance of following up on the momentum from the Review Conference, ensuring that States continue fulfilling their pledges, increase cooperation with the ICC and uphold the complementarity principle.
The Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, briefed the Assembly on existing investigations and nine preliminary examinations that are underway, including allegations of war crimes committed in the territory of the Republic of Korea. Mr. Ocampo welcomed the implementation of the independent oversight mechanism that would oversee the internal conduct of the Court’s officials but reiterated that further discussions were necessary in order to prevent any negative impact on the integrity of the Rome Statute.
Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims, referred to the increasing engagement of the Court with victims exemplified by education, counseling, rehabilitation and reparation initiatives of the Trust Fund, which has over 70,000 direct beneficiaries.
During the first two days of the general debate, 47 States Parties and one Observer State spoke reiterating their commitment to the Rome Statute and international criminal justice. Some States Parties pledged to contribute a total of €400,000 to the Trust Fund for Victims, €200,000 to the Special Trust Fund for Relocation and €85,000 to a new Trust Fund which would fund the family visits of indigent detainees.
The Assembly also elected by consensus six members of the Committee on Budget and Finance.
At the ninth session, the Assembly will, inter alia, follow-up on the stocktaking exercise of the Review Conference, consider proposals for the amendments of the Rome Statute that were not conveyed for consideration by the Review Conference, as well as consider the 2011 budget of the Court.

The statements may be found at:
Ninth session of the Assembly of States Parties

Press Conference held at the occasion of the 9th session    

Newletter #5   (English) :

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Assembly of States Parties