Overview by Georgios Plevris, Research Associate PILPG-NL
The Working Group on Amendments discussed proposals by Belgium with regard to amendments to Article 8 to bring the use of four particular types of weapons during International Armed Conflicts (IACs) and Non-International Armed Conflicts (NIACs) into the jurisdiction of the Court.
A controversial issue arose in the debate of Working Group on Amendments with regard to the amendment of the Provision Rule 165.
The 7th plenary of the Assembly of States Parties opened with speeches and submissions of reports from the various Working Groups. Highlights of the session include the Oversight Committee and the Working Group on Amendments.
The Oversight Committee, established back in 2007 to oversee construction and transition of the Court to the Permanent Premises, has concluded its work, and submitted its final report before the Assembly, as well as a Draft Resolution on the Permanent Premises. Additionally, shall a Governance structure be established to carry on this task, it will rely upon the existing structures and mechanisms of the Committee and the Bureau. As it was noted, there is consensus among State Parties on this and thus the adoption of the Draft Resolution was suggested.
The Chair of the Working Group on Amendments also addressed the plenary today, submitted along a report, 2 addendums agreed upon by the Working Group, as well as a draft resolution (L7 Draft Resolution). The Working Group on Amendments discussed proposals by Belgium with regard to amendments to Article 8 to bring the use of four particular types of weapons during International Armed Conflicts (IACs) and Non-International Armed Conflicts (NIACs) into the jurisdiction of the Court. However, the Working Group will consider the Belgian report in its further meetings, with an aim to submit an amendment at the 16th Session of the ASP in 2017. Furthermore, amendments to the “Language Cluster” to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence were discussed. Because certain delegations voiced the concerns with regard to the Rule 76(3), the Working Group will also refrain from making proposals and will take up the issue in further discussion on smaller groups of interested delegations.
Lastly, a controversial issue arose in the debate of Working Group on Amendments with regard to the amendment of the Provision Rule 165. Discussion on the issue was polarized in the Friday session of the Group, when two differentiated groups were formed; some delegations with Kenya leading them argued that the rule not be applied by the Court and a moratorium be instituted for its use. On the opposite side, the majority of the delegations, Belgium leading the debate, argued that the Rule be applied if the ASP does not manage to reach a conclusion, while it is not up to the ASP to direct the Court on how to apply the rule; that is something the Court and its Judges must adjudicate upon. As a result, two addendums were added to the Working’s Group Report that reflected that differentiation. Kenya and Belgium raised their differentiated views on the issue one more, before the plenary session officially ended.