The Assembly of States Parties: Part One (Andrew Zapata)

| Andrew Zapata | 16 November 2012 | The Hague, Netherlands |

Andrew Zapata, a CICL Fellow, is currently in The Hague for the International Criminal Court’s 11th Annual Assembly of States Parties.

I am currently attending the 11th Annual International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties in The Hague, which runs from 14–22 November 2012.  Traditionally, the Assembly has served as a forum for Rome Statute parties to argue over the budget, and this year is no different with many States conveying a message of fiscal prudence and efficiency against the backdrop of a tenuous global economic situation. Fortunately, more substantive issues are being discussed at the Assembly of States Parties, including the two important and inter-related issues of complementarity and cooperation, as well as implementation of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute.

Even before the Assembly convened, NGOs were hard at work preparing for the forthcoming week. On D-Day “-1”, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court – a global advocacy group – held a ‘Global Strategy Meeting’ at the Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.  The Coalition outlined the agenda for the Assembly and the various advocacy points that would be most relevant to this year’s meeting.

The Assembly convened the following day at the World Forum in The Hague.  After a speech by the President of Senegal, different points of order were addressed.  These included, among other items, the election of the Deputy Prosecutor.  Unfortunately, no one candidate was able to garner a simple majority of support, so after three failed ballots the voting was suspended (I am blogging as the ballots are being collected two days later for a fourth round of voting). The second day of the Assembly consisted of the general debate. Many of the states parties to the Rome Statute spoke, as did observers Russia, the United States, and China. The day concluded with speeches from international organizations and NGOs.

Today, the third day of the Assembly, has consisted of a morning panel on cooperation and an afternoon slate of breakout sessions. The cooperation panel included I.C.T.Y. Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, Belgian official Gérard Dive, and H.E. Luzolo Bambi Lessa from the D.R.C. Although each speech addressed different aspects of cooperation, they all shared the view that it is a difficult task to coordinate between the I.C.C. and the states parties. The most interesting afternoon session concerned the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute, and was co-hosted by Liechtenstein and the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression.  It was a pleasant surprise to see the United States delegation contribute to the dialogue on the Kampala Amendments, which in years past would have seemed unimaginable.  The crime of aggression, like complementarity and cooperation, is a theme that has reoccurred throughout the first three days of the International Criminal Court’s Assembly of States Parties.

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