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The sixth meeting of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 30 November to 14 December 2007. More than 250 individuals from civil society participated as observers from more than 100 NGOs. The resumed session of the Sixth ASP was held in New York on 2-6 June 2008. The Seventh ASP will be held in Hague from 14 to 22 November 2008.
The ASP elected Fumiko Saiga (Japan), Bruno Cotte(France) and Daniel David Nsereko (Uganda) to replace ICC judges who had resigned prior to the end of their nine-year terms. The judges were sworn in on 17 January 2008 in The Hague. The ASP also elected six new members of the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF) for three years: David Banyanka (Burundi), Juhani Lemmik (Estonia), Gilles Finkelstein (France), Gerd Saupe (Germany), Ugo Sessi (italy) and Carolina Fernández Opazo (Mexico). Furthermore, Ambassador Christian Wenaweser (Liechtenstein) was elected as the ASP new president for the seventh, eighth and ninth sessions (2008 – 2010), succeeding Ambassador Bruno Stagno Ugarte (Costa Rica). Finally, the Assembly adopted a series of recommendations for the appointment of a new Registrar to replace Bruno Cathala whose term expired in 2008.
The Sixth ASP general debate on 3, 4 and 6 December 2007 opened with remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 47 states parties, 3 non-states parties and 10 non-governmental organizations made declarations during the general debate. Key themes that emerged included the urgent need for cooperation with, and support for, the Court; the need to support the funding and activities of the trust Fund for Victims; the importance of the upcoming Review Conference; the urgency of agreeing on a definition of the crime of aggression; and the need for the universal ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute, particularly in the Middle East/North Africa and the Asia/Pacific regions. A number of states acknowledged the role of civil society, and several explicitly mentioned the contri¬butions of the CICC and its members.
Adoption of the ICC Budget for 2008
The ASP adopted a €90,382,100 program budget for 2008, which was less than the ICC originally requested, but an increase of 1.5 percent over the approved budget for 2007.
The Assembly endorsed the Committee on Budget and Finance’s (CBF) recommendation not to provide increased resources for legal aid and did not approve funding for a tempo¬rary P-4 Counsel position within the Office of Public Counsel for the Defense. Neverthe¬less, the ASP stressed the importance of legal aid for the conduct of fair trials and agreed to keep the issue under review.
Family visits to indigent detainees
Despite lengthy discussions, the Assembly decided not to cut the 2008 funds allocated for family visits to indigent detainees, but took note of the recommendations of the CBF and decided to take up this issue at the next ASP once more comprehensive infor¬mation becomes available from the Court.
Trust Fund for Victims
Following a proposal from the Trust Fund’s Board of Directors, the Assembly decided to amend Regulation 27 of the regulations of the Trust Fund to provide greater flexibility to the Board and the Executive Director to accept earmarked funds.
The ASP took note of the Bureau’s report on cooperation and endorsed the recommendations contained therein including the appointment of an ASP Focal Point for the issue.
On 29 November 2007, the CICC organized a press briefing on state and multilateral cooperation with the ICC. On 12 December 2007, the CICC organized an informal meeting on cooperation, sponsored by Denmark and the Netherlands and co-sponsored by 13 other country delegations.
The ASP granted the requested increase for ICC outreach activities in 2008.
On 11 November 2007, the Registry facilitated an informal briefing on the Court’s outreach activities in 2007 for government delegates and NGO observers. On 7 December 2007, Sierra Leone also hosted a hearing on outreach, co-sponsored by 30 states.
Crime of Aggression
During the Sixth ASP, the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression (SWGCA) chaired by Ambassador Christian Wenaweser of Liechtenstein held seven meetings and discussed the 2007 Chairman’s discussion paper, the 2007 Princeton inter-sessional report, which included two non-papers on the state act of aggression and on the exercise of jurisdiction. In addition, a further non-paper on the definition of the conduct of the individual was discussed. The Chair intends to prepare a revised discussion paper for the Resumed Sixth ASP in June 2008. The future roadmap of the SWGCA was also discussed and dates were allotted leading up to the Review Conference.
the ASP took note of the report of the Working Group on the Review Conference (IiCC-ASP/6/WGRC/CRP.1). ASP renewed the mandate of Ambassador Rolf Fife (Norway) as focal point of the Assembly on the Review Conference, which will be held for five to ten working days during the first semester of 2010. UN Secretary General will issue invitations for the conference in 2009. On the issue of venue, suggestions were made on criteria and requirements that the Assembly should take into consideration before making a decision at the upcoming resumed session in June 2008.
On 7 December 2007, the Ugandan government presented a slideshow regarding its proposal to host the Conference.
The ASP took note of the Permanent Premises Working Group report as presented by the Chairman (ASP/6/WGPP/1) and adopted the resolutions contained therein. The Working Group recommended that the architectural design competition proceed on the basis of the recommendations contained in the Bureau’s report and to establish, also in accordance with the report, a Project Office and an Oversight Committee to provide overall guidance to the project. Furthermore, the Working Group indicated its desire for the Coalition for the international Criminal Court to be granted observer status in the jury.
The City of The Hague gave a presentation on and the future site of the permanent premises.