Overview by Abby Roberts, Research Associate PILPG NL
There was a general consensus on the clauses concerning the recruitment of staff to balance geographic representation and gender distribution, the importance of the independence of the Court, and noting the ICC’s activated jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.
Further discussion will take place this weekend between parties on numerous clauses that will be brought up in the next meeting on Monday 11 December.
The informal consultations for the Omnibus Resolution entailed the discussion on the revised draft of the resolution and the newly proposed clauses.
The debate opened with the discussion of clauses 104-106 which are a part of the section of Recruitment of Staff and concern geographic representation and gender distribution. The facilitator opened the discussion on these clauses by noting a previous proposals submitted by Bangladesh regarding its concerns about the current state of representation and distribution and explained that the proposal had been partially incorporated into these clauses. Bangladesh was the first speaker and emphasized the need to address inequalities and geographic representation and gender distribution within the ASP. Bangladesh was in favor of these clauses, but will be monitoring the situation and will submit a stronger proposal in the future if it feels not enough progress is being made.
The next topic of debate was a proposal submitted by Austria which expressed its support regarding the independence of the Court and resolved to stand against impunity. There was a general consensus regarding the inclusion of the substance of the proposal, but some debate regarding the wording.
The next clauses up for discussion were 12 bis and 12 ter on the ICC’s activated jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. There was a general consensus regarding the content of the clauses, but debate was centered around where they should be placed. Brazil suggested creating a new chapter regarding the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute where the clauses would be placed. Spain suggested that the clauses were placed in Section T regarding the Review Conference. The facilitator recommended further outside discussion on this so the group could come to an agreement when the topic is picked back up on Monday. The subsequent debate had to do with clauses 12 quarter - 12 octies, regarding whether the phrase ‘takes note’, ‘takes note with appreciation’, or ‘welcomes’ should be used. Ecuador led the charge for changing the wording to ‘welcomes’, as it felt that ‘takes note’ was not strong enough. This topic will also be taken back up on Monday.
The next proposal discussed was clause 91 ter alt submitted by France, which requested the Bureau to submit a report assessing the schedule, location, and length of the ASP. Germany proposed an addition to this clause which would shorten the ASP to five working days. Brazil and Belgium expressed their concern regarding the impact this would have on the workload of the Bureau. The United Kingdom supported France and Germany’s proposals but suggested that the ASP be one working week instead of five working days, as long as there are no judicial elections. Portugal supports the proposals by France and the UK but notes that they cannot prejudge what the substantive debate will be and needs to keep in mind the civil society considerations when limiting the ASP to five days. This proposal will also be brought up for discussion on Monday.
The last topic of debate was clauses 9 bis - 9 quarter, which concerned the differentiation between public and private meetings of the ASP. Liechtenstein spoke first on this topic and suggested just recalling rule 42 rather than including these paragraphs. They also suggested that, if they are kept, the paragraphs be moved into the section on the participation of states parties. They don’t see the sufficient link between the substance of these paragraphs and universality, which is their current section. Colombia believed that the paragraphs should remain in universality section as keeping them public encourages participation. Germany noted there are concerns about inclusiveness and encouraging participation and noted that allowing observer states to be in the room is a necessity. Germany noted that they are exclusive in the Bureau when it comes to certain court proceedings and meetings, but other than that they are open. Austria did not see the need for three paragraphs when the topic was already endorsed in clause 138; they also agreed with the proposal by Liechtenstein. The United Kingdom believed these are important paragraphs that relate to universality and it is important that observer states and civil society are on equal footing. They also believe it is important to reference rule 42. The facilitator encouraged more dialogue on this topic as this will also be brought up again on Monday 10 December.