Overview by Kathryn Gooding, Research Associate PILPG NL
The Court emphasized its desire to balance the need to save money, with the need to ensure that the Court is effective in delivering its mandate.
A major concern for the Court is the number of States Parties in arrears.
The 8th plenary meeting of the 17thAssembly of States Parties concerned the proposed budget of the ICC for 2019. The Registrar ofthe ICC, Peter Lewis, emphasized that the ICC understands that many states have undergone budgetary cuts and that their ability to contribute to the Budget is increasingly limited. However, he noted that the ICC was given a mandate by States Parties, and to be able to effectively carry out its mandate, the Court must have a sufficient budget to be effective.
The Registrar noted that the ICC aims to reduce costs and enhance its efficiency, by improving its responsiveness and flexibility. The proposed budget for 2019 is claimed to be an important step in that direction. Peter Lewis noted that it is the lowest budget in years, as the ICC was able to identify means to reduce costs. However, he emphasized that the Court’s ability to reduce additional costs depends on the volume of work it is dealing with, and this must be considered in light of the fact that the Court is operating in 11 situations, and that there are hearings in three trials. Therefore, Peter Lewis argued that the Court needs resources to deliver its essential mandate, but that the Court also needs to strive for disciplined and efficient organization.
The Chair of the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF), Hitoshi Kozaki, put forward that the Court proposes a programme budget of €147,55 million for 2019, which represents an increase of 2.6 per cent compared to the 2018 budget. Kozaki noted his concern regarding the status of contributions to the budget. He was concerned that there are a number of outstanding contributions to the budget, totaling €19.2 million.
The meeting continued with a consideration by the Auditor of the audit reports of the financial statements of the ICC, the financial statements of the Trust Fund for Victims, and the management of the Court’s human resources. The external auditor noted that the financial statements were a faithful reflection of the Court and the TFV. The main expenditure of the Court was found to have been staff costs, which increased by 6.4 percent compared to 2018. The Auditor mirrored the concerns of Kozaki that there are major threats to the cash flow of the Court due to the outstanding contributions of some States Parties. He therefore recommended the ICC to strengthen the means of recovering arrears. The Auditor, finally, with regard to the Court’s management of human resources, noted recent successes in gender parity and geographical representation within the Court and referred to the ten detailed recommendations to the Court with regard to human resources.