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December 2011 Resolution by the Assembly of States Parties on State Cooperation with the International Criminal Court

This post draws attention to Resolution ICC-ASP/10/Res.2, on cooperation, adopted by consensus on 20 December 2011 by the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court during its 7th plenary meeting (10th Session). There are other important resolutions adopted during the 10th Session, including that dealing with reparations (see previous post); amendments to the rule 4 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (see here); programme budget for 2012, the Working Capital Fund for 2012, scale of assessments for the apportionment of expenses of the International Criminal Court, financing appropriations for 2012 and the Contingency Fund (see here), strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties (see here), and on permanent premises (see here).

In this resolution, the Assembly of States Parties first recalled the provisions of the Rome Statute, the Declaration on Cooperation (RC/Dec.2) agreed by States Parties at the 2010 Review Conference in Kampala and previous resolutions and declarations of the Assembly of States Parties with regard to cooperation including ICC-ASP/8/Res.2, ICC-ASP/9/Res.3, and the sixty-six recommendations annexed to ICC-ASP/6/Res.2. Resolution ICC-ASP/10/Res.2 emphasizes the importance of effective and comprehensive cooperation and assistance by States Parties, other States, and international and regional organizations, to enable the Court to fully fulfil its mandate. The importance of timely and effective cooperation and assistance from States Parties and other States under an obligation to cooperate with the Court pursuant to Part 9 of the Rome Statute or a United Nations Security Council resolution was also emphasized, since the failure to provide such cooperation in the context of judicial proceedings affects the efficiency of the Court. The resolution also notes the impact that non-execution of Court requests can have on the ability of the Court to execute its mandate, in particular when it concerns the arrest and surrender of individuals subject to arrest warrants. With a large number of accused still at large, it is understandable that the Assembly of States Parties draws attention to the obligations of States to assist the Court in executing its arrest warrants.

The resolution recalls that the ratification of the Rome Statute must be matched by national implementation of the obligations emanating therefrom, notably through implementing legislation and adopting appropriate measures at the national level. Since many States have not done so yet, it is to be hoped that this resolution will encourage them to take action so that they can fully meet their obligations under the Rome Statute. The resolution also emphasizes the need for States Parties to cooperate with the Court in such areas as preserving and providing evidence, securing the arrest and surrender to the Court of persons for whom arrest warrants have been issued, sharing information and protecting victims. Moreover, the resolution calls upon all States Parties and other States, where possible, to consider strengthening their cooperation with the Court by entering into agreements or arrangements with the Court or any other means concerning, inter alia, protective measures for witnesses who are at risk and sentence enforcement.

The Assembly of States Parties commended the work of the Court on framework agreements or arrangements or any other means in areas such as interim release, final release, witness relocation and sentence enforcement, it encouraged the Court to continue its work in this regard, and encouraged all States Parties to consider, where possible, strengthening voluntary cooperation in these areas. The resolution goes on to underline the need for a proactive approach by the Court in developing, in consultation with States Parties, effective strategies to facilitate cooperation by States Parties and other States to identify, track, freeze or seize proceeds, property and assets, and the corresponding obligation of States Parties to comply with such requests by the Court, as envisaged in article 93, paragraph 1 (k), of the Rome Statute, for the purposes set out in the Statute. The resolution also welcomes the establishment of the Special Fund for Relocations and encourages all States Parties to consider, where possible, entering into relocation agreements or arrangements with the Court, including on a cost neutral basis and to consider making voluntary contributions to the Special Fund for Relocations.

Another emphasis of the resolution is on the importance of States Parties responding, to the extent possible, to requests for assistance on behalf of defence teams. It was noted that the Court may facilitate the communication of such requests, when appropriate. Defence teams face an uphill battle in ensuring State cooperation, so the resolution’s attention to this matter is certainly a step in the right direction. While welcoming the increased cooperation between the Court and the United Nations, and other international and regional organizations, and other inter-governmental institutions, the resolution emphasizes the importance of States Parties enhancing support for the Court at the international level. The Assembly of States Parties requested the Bureau to establish a facilitation of the Assembly of States Parties for cooperation to consult with States Parties, the Court and non-governmental organizations, as well as other interested States and relevant organizations in order to further strengthen cooperation with the Court as well as to report on significant developments to the Assembly of States Parties at its eleventh session. The Assembly of States Parties decided to continue to monitor cooperation with a view to facilitating States Parties in sharing their experiences and considering other initiatives to enhance cooperation; to this end, it included a specific item on cooperation on the agenda of its eleventh session. The Court was also requested to submit an updated report on cooperation to the Assembly at its twelfth session.

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