IBA says all states parties to the ICC must adopt implementing legislation as a matter of urgency

On the first day of the seventh session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Bar Association (IBA) calls upon the ASP and its member states to increase support and commitment to the ICC by adopting solid national legal frameworks that can facilitate robust and consistent cooperation with the court.

Out of the 108 countries that have ratified the Rome Statute, less than half have satisfactorily adopted ICC implementing legislation. Current implementation statistics stand at 20% having fully-adopted; 30% part-adopted; and 50% have not adopted any ICC implementing legislation whatsoever. This potentially makes cooperation requests made by the ICC to governments which have not adopted implementing legislation difficult to execute.

‘Implementing legislation is currently the missing link between the obligations within the Rome Statute and their implementation by States Parties,’ commented Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the IBA. He continued: ‘If the international community’s commitment to the ICC is to be effective, States Parties must uphold their obligations under the Statute and adopt implementing legislation as a matter of urgency’.

To galvanise states’ commitment to cooperation, the IBA organised a roundtable discussion in The Hague on 12 November, entitled ‘Making the ICC a global reality through cooperation: perspectives, challenges and strategies’. The debate was led by a high profile panel including Silvana Arbia, ICC Registrar; Beatrice Le Fraper du Hellen, Head of the Jurisdiction, Cooperation and Complementarity Section of the Office of the Prosecutor; Richard Dicker, Director of the International Justice Programme for Human Rights Watch; and His Excellency Yves Haesendonck, Assembly of States Parties Focal Point for Cooperation. A keynote address was delivered by Judge Theodor Meron, President of the Appeals Chamber for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the roundtable discussion was moderated by Heikelina Verrijn Stuart, a legal commentator and member of the Dutch Advisory Council for Foreign Affairs. There were more than one hundred participants in attendance, including diplomats, judges, ICC officials, NGO leaders, and members of the global legal community.

The discussion emphasised that investigations and ICC proceedings require clear procedures at the national level to ensure that the court’s requests for cooperation on these matters can be implemented in an efficient and timely manner. Cooperation is not limited to countries in which the ICC Prosecutor has opened an investigation, but also includes all states parties which, individually and collectively, have a responsibility to adopt implementing legislation. During the discussion panellists and delegates stressed the important role of regional and international organisations in fostering cooperation with the court.

Liliana De Marco Coenen, Head of the IBA's ICC Outreach Programme, commented: ‘As well as individual states, cooperation from regional and international organisations directly assists the work of the ICC. Cooperation agreements with regional organisations, such as the African Union, as well as targeted public information campaigns in key contests are extremely important.’

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Note to the Editor

The seventh session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened on 14 November 2008 in The Hague, the Netherlands. Representatives from each of the member states gathered to adopt the court's 2009 budget and discuss a number of issues central to the court's functioning.

Part 9 of the Rome Statute affirms the obligation to and describes the modalities for cooperation with the ICC. Article 88 of the Statute requires that states parties ensure that there are procedures available under their national law for all the form of cooperation that are specified under part 9 of the Statute.

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