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Delivering on the promise of a fair, effective and independent CourtNGOs are closely monitoring the first steps of the International Criminal Court in building a credible functioning justice system. While some issues are of general interest to NGOs, such as adequate allocation of the Courtís annual budget, others focus on specific areas of the ICCís work and infrastructure. Information about these issues and how to get involved with the Coalitionís teams can be found below.
Budget and Finance
Budgetary and financial issues are crucial to the Courtís effective functioning on all levels: from provisions for the Courtís facilities to the ICCís work in situation countries.
Crime of Aggression
Article 5 of The Rome Statute states that the ICC shall exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. Until the Review Conference in 2010, this crime remained undefined, inspiring discussion as to what it entails and the conditions under which it can be prosecuted.
Election of ICC and ASP Officials
A number of high level ICC officials are elected by the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), including the Courtís 18 judges, its Prosecutor and the members of the Committee on Budget and Finance. NGOs monitor elections to ensure they are both fair and transparent and lead to the election of the most qualified candidates.
Gender and the ICC
NGOs were at the forefront of ensuring that the Rome Statute thoroughly safeguarded womenís rights. As a result, the Statute is the first international treaty to identify crimes against women as crimes against humanity, war crimes, and in some instances, genocide.
NGOs are calling for adequate legal representation for the ICCís accused and victims, essential to the effective functioning of the Court. As legal representation is a pillar of the Court, NGOs follow very closely developments regarding the Office of Public Counsel for Defense and the Office of Public Counsel for Victims. NGOs are also involved process leading to a permanent Code of Professional Conduct.
The first Review Conference on the Rome Statute took place in Kampala, Uganda from 31 May to 11 June 2010. ICC states parties, observer states, international organizations, NGOs, and other participants discussed proposed amendments to the Rome Statute and took stock of its impact to date. Debates focused on victims and affected communities, complementarity, cooperation, and peace and justice. States also approved provisions governing the Court's ability to investigate and prosecute individuals for the crime of aggression. More than 600 Coalition members played a central role in enhancing the dialogue on the Rome system and ensured that the voices of civil society were truly heard through a number of debates, roundtables and other events.
Victims and Witnesses
Victimsí and witnessesí rights, needs and concerns need to be met at all stages of ICC proceedings. Although progress has been made on this issue, a number of concerns remain to be addressed. Particularly, NGOs have an interest in ensuring that proper outreach is conducted so that victims are aware of their rights under the Rome Statute. Another issue that is of concern to NGOs is the protection of victims and witnesses, and the mechanisms set in place by the Court in the field and in The Hague.
Trust Fund for Victims
The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) forms an essential part of the Courtís innovative mandate towards victims and is an acknowledgment that justice cannot be met by retribution alone. The Rome Statute of the ICC enables victims to claim reparations from perpetrators. The independent Trust Fund's activities and projects will provide concrete means by which victimsí broader needs may be addressed.