Sunday, December 2, 2007

ICC: Sixth Session of the Assembly of States Parties

On Friday, the Sixth Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court convened at UN Headquarters in New York. Session documents can be found here. A number of important issues are on the agenda, including the adoption of the Court's budget, an election to fill judicial vacancies, an election of the members of the Committee of Budget and Finance, recommendations concerning the election of a new registrar, preparations for a review conference, and the report of the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression. On the Session's first day, Judge Philippe Kirsch, President of the Court, gave a report on the Court's activities. He noted, among other things, the importance of the arrest and surrender of persons wanted by the Court. Kirsch was followed by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Court's Prosecutor. Moreno-Ocampo summarized developments in the pending cases, noted that in 2008 his office would open new investigations concerning the situation in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and indicated that his office was analyzing situations in three continents, including situations in Colombia and Côte d'Ivoire. Also on Friday, the ASP conducted two rounds of elections for the three judicial vacancies (which stemmed from the resignations of Maureen Harding Clark (Ireland), Karl T. Hudson-Phillips (Trinidad and Tobago), and Claude Jorda (France)). The candidates were: Bruno Cotte (France); Graciela Dixon (Panama); Daniel David Ntanda Nsereko (Uganda); Jean Angela Permanand (Trinidad and Tobago); and Fumiko Saiga (Japan). Cotte and Saiga were elected in the first round. Their election was unsurprising, as France, de facto, is allotted one judge (and one of the judges who resigned is French), and Japan is a major backer of the Court. (Japan, though, only became a State Party to the Rome Statute on October 1st of this year, following the deposit of its instrument of accession on July 17.) The third vacancy was not filled in the second round, as none of the remaining candidates received the necessary two-thirds majority. (Nsereko had 53 votes, compared with 26 for Permanand and 25 for Dixon. Sixty-nine votes were needed for election in the second round.) The election of a Ugandan national would have particular significance given the pending case against Joseph Kony, who remains at large. Voting will continue on Monday afternoon; the General Debate will begin in the morning. Secretary-General Ban is expected to address the ASP then. The ASP will continue through Friday, December 14.