1 February 2007


1 February 2007
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York





Special Working Group on Crime of Aggression

To Meet Next at Princeton University, 11-14 June

The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court wrapped up its fifth resumed session at United Nations Headquarters in New York today, adopting two draft resolutions on technical matters concerning the Court’s operations and filling a vacancy on the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims.

Serving as the Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly dispensed with its traditional secret balloting procedure and elected Mr. Bulgaa Altangerel of Mongolia to serve a three-year term as the fifth Board member of the victim’s Trust Fund.  His election completes the independent body that will supervise the Fund created by the Court to provide victims with help and compensation to enable them to rebuild lives often shattered by war.

Mr. Bulgaa will join Mr. Tadeusz Mazowiecki ( Poland), Ms. Simone Veil ( France), Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu ( South Africa) and Mr. Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson ( Trinidad and Tobago) who were elected earlier and represent their respective regions.

The Assembly is comprised of representatives of the States that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute –- the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.  The Statute entered into force in July 2002 and the Court’s jurisdiction covers only crimes committed after that date.  As of 1 January 2007, 104 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute.  Out of them 29 are African States, 12 are Asian States, 15 are from Eastern Europe, 22 are from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 26 are from Western Europe and Other States.

The Court was inaugurated in March 2004, in The Hague, Netherlands, and, as the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, it has jurisdiction over the most serious breaches of international law -- trying individuals rather than States, and holding them accountable for war crimes, including genocide, mass murder, enslavement, rape, and, once defined, the crime of aggression.  Known as the “court of last resort”, it will not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine; for example, if formal proceedings were undertaken solely to shield a person from criminal responsibility.

In other action today, the Assembly adopted the draft report of its fifth resumed session, which opened on 29 January, approved the report of its Credentials Committee and took note of the report of the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression.  Working Group Chair Christian Wenaweser ( Liechtenstein) informed the Assembly that the panel would hold its next meeting at Princeton University, from 11-14 June 2007.

The Assembly also adopted a resolution (ICC-ASP/5/L.4) on the procedure for the nomination and election of judges, which will allow it to defer filling the judicial vacancy arising from the resignation of Judge Maureen Harding Clark, until the sixth session of the Assembly, to be held in New York from 30 November to 14 December.  It also adopted a resolution (ICC-ASP/5/L.6) amending a previous text on the Pension Scheme Regulations for judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC-ASP/5/Res.3) that will now preclude the possibility of individuals receiving a pension from the Court while serving as a judge at another international tribunal.

When the Assembly turned to “other business” Jens Prothman (Namibia) called attention to the absence of any African at the head of the International Criminal Court’s five visible institutions -– the Court, the Office of the Prosecutor, the Registry, the Secretariat, the Assembly of States Parties and the New York Liaison Office.  In fact, two were headed by individuals from the Western European and Others Group and three by Latin Americans, despite the African States constituting the largest group -– indeed Africa provided nearly one third of the States Parties -– and all current situation countries being in Africa.

While excellence was paramount, equitable geographic representation at all levels must also be taken into account, he said.  Excellence, particularly in peer-abundant and peer-preoccupied international relations, was grounded on a multitude of attributes, including adequate, required and relevant experience and qualifications, as well as stature, persuasiveness and language abilities among other things.

The representatives of Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Uganda all endorsed that statement.

The Assembly Chair/President, Bruno Stango Ugarte ( Costa Rica) pointed out that Ambassador Kalimi Mugambi Mworia ( Kenya) was the Facilitator for equitable geographic representation and gender balance in the recruitment of staff members on The Hague Working Group.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.