NPWJ and NRPTT congratulate newly elected ICC Prosecutor and Judges, but warn against budgetary cuts

 

From 12 to 21 December 2011, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) met in New York for its tenth annual session. This year, the ASP was led by a newly elected President, Ms Tiina Intelmann (Estonia), two new Vice-Presidents, Ken Kanda (Ghana) and Markus Borlin (Switzerland) and a new ASP Bureau. In addition to adopting the 2012 budget, the ASP also elected the new ICC Prosecutor, six judges and six members of the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF).

Statement by Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice:

“The 10th Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court signs the beginning of a new cycle in the life of the Court. We have a new ICC Prosecutor, Ms Fatou Bensouda, who will be taking office in June 2012; a new bench of judges; renovated leadership in the ASP; and six new CBF members, not to mention the first trial completed and awaiting judgment and the first head of State in custody in The Hague. No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) warmly welcome this second generation of the Court and extend our deep appreciation to the outgoing principals and elected officials.

“NPWJ and NRPTT particularly congratulate Ms Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia for her unanimous election by acclamation. We have had the honour to work with Ms Bensouda throughout these years in her position as ICC Deputy Prosecutor and have always appreciated her outstanding qualifications and skills. As the Prosecutor elected of this second generation court, she will have new challenges in continuing to strengthen the ICC and its role in fighting impunity, promoting peace and –critically– securing redress for victims. We look forward to continuing to work with Ms Bensouda and the Office of the Prosecutor in the coming years. We also take this opportunity to recognise the important work conducted by outgoing Prosecutor Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo in establishing a strong and well-recognised International Criminal Court.

“While appreciating the spirit of collaboration and intensive work carried out by the ICC States Parties during this session to reach a consensus decision on the Court’s 2012 budget, we regret the lack of transparency in the conduct of negotiations and the cuts applied to the budget. Alongside our NGO colleagues, we have continuously called on ICC States Parties to provide the ICC with the necessary financial resources to carry out its work and discharge its mandate. This is particularly critical this year, with two new situations, a demonstrable increase in judicial activity and a consequent increase in its general workload. We are therefore deeply disappointed with the ASP’s decision to approve a budget for next year that applies further cuts to those recommended by the CBF. We are seriously concerned this could impede the Court in discharging its mandate to deliver meaningful justice that has a real impact for victims and affected communities.

“Notwithstanding these concerns, NPWJ and NRPTT welcome the recognition by States of the importance of the Court’s strategic planning process on its field operations, which is critical to increase the effectiveness, efficacy and impact of the Court’s work. At the 10th Session of the ASP, ICC States Parties once again called for an enhanced field presence of the Court, in order to optimise the relevance and impact of the Court in countries where it carries out its work. We call on the Court to continue enhancing its legacy in countries in which it operates, including through a completion strategy, in consultation with States Parties, civil society and other stakeholders. Finally, we welcome the strong support expressed by States Parties for outreach, public information and communications on the Court, encouraging the ICC to start outreach at the earliest possible opportunity, including during the preliminary examinations phase.”

No Peace Without Justice, which is a founding member of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and which has been one of the organisations at the forefront of promoting the establishment and entry into force of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) and continues to work for its universal ratification, has participated in every session of the ASP since its first session in 2002, the year the ICC was established.

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