Overview by Abby Roberts, Research Associate PILPG NL
Clauses 104, 119, and 91ter were agreed upon which was a testament to the cooperation of this body.
The divide between Latin America and Eastern Europe was even more prominent in this session and this came to a head with no consensus reached on the clause on equitable geographical distribution within the Bureau.
The Secretariat is looking into venue options for or rescheduling of the next ASP in 2019.
On the sixth day of the ASP, the informal consultations on the omnibus resolution continued for a final time. The first clause discussed was the new operative clause placed after PP29 and it was noted that the body had come to a consensus on the phrasing and structure of this clause.
Next under discussion was operative clause 91bis, relating to Brazils proposal for a clause on equitable geographical representation in the Bureau. Brazil spoke first on this topic and opened by noting that the Eastern European group had concerns with the timing and degree of institutionalization of Brazil’s original proposal. Brazil, in its search for consensus, decided on the wording in the draft resolution. Brazil closed its speech by expressing its belief that no country is in essence opposed to equal representation, and therefore Brazil expected agreement on this clause. Japan, Uganda, and numerous Latin American states expressed their willingness to support the proposal by Brazil. Despite Brazil’s hopes, the Eastern European group expressed their disagreement with the clause. Slovakia noted it did not address their main concerns and will not really alleviate any prominent issues, and suggested that more time is necessary to discuss the clause. Slovenia also suggested more discussion and believed that there was no need to raise this particular point in the omnibus resolution as it can be raised by members of the bureau at any point. Bulgaria and Croatia were not in support of the proposal because it had a preemptive element. The Netherlands expressed its support for the views of the Eastern European group and added that it does not see to what extent a requirement for a written report would add anything as it already can be requested. This clause was left to be discussed at a later point.
The next clause discussed was 91ter. Germany withdrew its suggested edit which shortened the length of the ASP. Belgium had concerns with regards to this clause but was willing to go along with it in the spirit of consensus. The Czech Republic requested that the words “and frequency” be removed. A consensus was reached on this clause with the Czech Republic’s suggested edit.
Operative clause 104 was agreed upon. Operative clause 119 was agreed upon, pending the passage of the amendment to rule 26 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
Mandate 19(b) regarding the timing of the next ASP was then put up for discussion. Finland asked if there was any possibility to change the date of it or choose a different venue to facilitate a change in date. The Secretariat responded that they are looking into other venue options or rescheduling, but this will take more time. The Coordinator suggested a clause that requests the Secretariat to present options for scheduling the next session of the assembly and requests the bureau decide on the date of the 18th session. This version of the clause was agreed upon. The meeting was then convened for 45 minutes for discussion, which left 10 minutes in the session to resolve all remaining issues.
Brazil was the first to speak in this last part of the session and suggested the following as the new proposed text of clause 91bis: “Recalling article 112 3(b) of the Rome Statute of the ICC, request the bureau to promote adequate discussions with a view to addressing the issue of equitable geographic representation within its structure”. Slovenia noted that this discussion was supposed to be an exercise in consensus, but they were only faced with the proposal 10 minutes ago and that this is not acceptable to them. They suggested just recalling articles 112 3(a) and (b) and encouraging the bureau to remain seized on this matter. Slovakia was in agreement with Slovenia regarding Brazil’s proposal as they thought it gave a sense of urgency that they do not believe exists and they were uncertain as to what “promoting adequate discussion” means. Macedonia agreed with Slovakia and Slovenia and noted that it seems they have a different starting point when it comes to this topic, as Eastern Europe feels there is adequate representation within the Bureau. Brazil responded by saying that they think the representation needs to be addressed and discussed, as the membership in the ICC went up and they need to address the new demographic or at least have a discussion about the new demographic so the bureau is representative. To try and find a middle ground, the Republic of Korea suggested the phrasing “calls upon the bureau to consider where possible the future composition of the bureau in light of article 112 of the Rome Statute”. Serbia and the Czech Republic were hesitant regarding this proposal and Brazil wanted more time to think about the phrasing of Korea’s proposal. With two minutes left, Austria gave a speech urging flexibility in phrasing and Brazil finally stated that if language that is not agreeable cannot be even considered then they will never have new language in the resolution.
This session ended without consensus to 91bis.