Madam President, I have the honour to address this Assembly on behalf of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and its 164 member organisations around the world.
FIDH has closely worked with Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo and his office over the past nine years. We acknowledge his openness in meeting and engaging with civil society and human rights defenders. FIDH wishes all the success to Ms. Fatou Bensouda as the Prosecutor elect, and the newly elected judges in their important endeavour to render justice for the most heinous crimes around the world.
At this moment of transition for the Court, FIDH has published an analysis of the strategy and policies of the Office of the Prosecutor over the past nine years. It is our hope that the ICC will look to this report and its recommendations to help strengthen the work of the OTP and increase the cooperation of States Parties in this regard.
The work of the Court has greatly increased over the past few years and continues to grow. Currently, the Court has seven ongoing investigations, including two that were opened this year alone, and another eight situations that are under preliminary analysis. In light of this increase in activities, and the additional need for the Court’s intervention in a variety of other situations such as Colombia, Palestine, and Guinea, FIDH calls on States to ensure that the Court has the political, legal, and financial support it needs to carry out its mandate, particularly in regards to the Court’s budget and States’ cooperation.
States’ cooperation with the Court remains the main determinant of the ICC’s capacity to pursue justice for the most serious crimes. States Parties have a duty to support the Court by executing arrest warrants, taking diplomatic action, and ensuring that their national legislation is compatible with the Rome Statute. The ASP must assess cooperation and envisage ways to strengthen it as part of its permanent working group on the matter.
FIDH also urges States Parties to recall the growing importance, impact and needs of the ICC in their deliberations around the Court’s budget. We understand the need for evaluation of the Court’s expenditures, particularly in light of the current global economic situation, but stress that the ICC is one of the least expensive among all international initiatives for peace, justice and security. As the President of the ICC clearly stated at Monday’s plenary, the ICC is not an expensive endeavour, and a zero-growth policy imposed on the Court’s budget would profoundly damage its ability to pursue justice.
In particular, a zero-growth policy would restrict the Court’s ability to allow for victim participation. Considering that the ICC’s achievements to date are based largely on the participation of victims and their contributions to the Court’s proceedings, cutting funds for victim participation and legal representation would do away with one of the most important keys to the Court’s success. Thus, to support, as many States do, a zero growth of the Court’s budget while the Court’s work and needs are increasing, is an inducement to impunity.
Ms. Paulina Vega Gonzalez, FIDH Vice President