WFM – Canada and Global Affairs Canada (Legal Affairs Division) have co-organized a meeting November 1 among Canadian civil society representatives and government officials ahead of the December 4-14 meeting of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court. The ASP is the annual governance body for the 124 parties to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the Court.
With important elections taking place, as well as a pending decision on the activation of ICC jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, this year’s ASP meetings are attracting considerable interest.
Six of the Court’s 15 judges are due to be replaced this year. The civil society Coalition for the ICC is campaigning for states to nominate and elect highly-qualified and independent candidates through fair, transparent, and merit-based nomination and election processes. As part of this campaign, the coalition conducted interviews with all the candidates, as well as publishing additional information to help guide states parties during the elections. As five of the six outgoing ICC judges are women, the Coalition also campaigned to ensure that female candidates were nominated by states to ensure fair gender representation on the ICC bench. A Canadian, Kimberly Prost, is among those running for election.
In 2010 an ICC review conference in Kampala Uganda agreed on amendments that paved the way for the Court to implement its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. (Presently the Court has jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.) The Kampala amendments stipulated that more than 30 state ratifications of the amendments are needed to incorporate the definition and modalities for the ICC’s jurisdiction. That threshold has now been reached. However an additional step, a two-thirds vote of the Assembly of States Parties, is required to “activate” the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction. A decision on activating the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression is also one of the significant agenda items at this year’s ICC ASP.