14th ASP : States should refrain from discussing judicial matters during the ASP

Credit : FIDH
Joint Position Paper on the ICC

(The Hague) On the occasion of the 14th Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute (“ASP”), FIDH and its member organizations in Kenya and Sudan, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), would like to express our endorsement of the efforts made by the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern, both within the African continent and outside it.

We acknowledge the crucial and indispensable role of the ICC in the fight against impunity for grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Africa where states have proven unable or unwilling to genuinely investigate and prosecute perpetrators. In particular, we are concerned that the lack of domestic judicial proceedings to address serious international crimes in Africa has ensured that the perpetrators of these crimes continue to benefit from impunity, leaving thousands of African victims deprived of the accountability and justice they deserve.

We support the strong efforts made by some States to prosecute international crimes at the national level but recall that crimes committed in Kenya and Sudan have been characterised by impunity and ongoing human rights abuses [1].

In this regard, our organisations are deeply concerned by the proposals presented by the government of Kenya and South Africa relating to the Court’s handling of the Kenya cases as well as the Al-Bashir case. We emphasize that States should refrain from discussing judicial matters during the ASP, which is a purely political forum, as this could amount to attempting to politicise the Court`s judicial proceedings and to interfering with its judicial and prosecutorial independence.

Further, we welcome the efforts made by the President of the ASP to improve the ICC’s relationship with African States, and the commitment of a number of African States Parties’ to the ICC. We also welcome the recent request to open an investigation in Georgia and the ongoing preliminary examinations in other regions. We call on State Parties to fully cooperate with the ICC in the investigation and prosecution of crimes within its jurisdiction. In this respect, we urge State Parties to recognise the importance of facilitating the Court`s enforcement powers and to make political pledges to support enforcement in specific instances, including by committing to execute arrest warrants issued by the Court.

Promoting the rights to justice and reparation for victims of the most serious human rights violations is a central priority for our organisations. We therefore encourage States Parties to implement fully and effectively the provisions of the Rome Statute, and ensure these rights are guaranteed through domestic legislation; to support a strong Trust Fund for Victims; to ensure the effective participation of victims in ICC proceedings, including through legal representation from the earliest stages of the proceedings; to support a strong programme of protection for victims and witnesses and to insist on a strong field presence to provide meaningful outreach to victims and affected communities.

Recommendations to the State Parties:
- Defend the integrity and universality of the Rome Statute, including the Court’s judicial and prosecutorial independence, at every opportunity throughout the ASP.
- Oppose the inclusion of the agenda items proposed by the governments of Kenya and South Africa as they are aimed at interfering with, influencing and undermining ongoing judicial proceedings.
- Pay particular attention to the rights to justice and reparation for victims of the most serious human rights violations and international crimes, and the effective implementation of these rights into domestic legislation.
- Support effective participation of victims in ICC proceedings, including through legal representation from the earliest stages of the proceedings, insist on a strong field presence to provide meaningful outreach to victims and affected communities and support strong protection programmes and measures to victims and witnesses.
- Support the Trust Fund for Victims to ensure that victims’ views, needs and concerns are duly considered at every stage of the reparation phase.
- Adopt the budget requested by the ICC so that it can open investigation into other situations falling under the ICC’s jurisdiction
- Fully cooperate with the ICC in its efforts to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for international crimes.
- Recognise the importance of facilitating the Court`s enforcement powers and make political pledges in specific instances, including by executing arrest warrants issued by the Court.

On the same topic


Read the FIDH recommendations to the 14th Assembly of States Parties to the Statute of the ICC

Read the letter by African civil society organisations and international organisations with a presence in Africa

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