12 September 2003



  NEW YORK, 11 September (UN Headquarters) -- States Parties to the International Criminal Court expressed their appreciation this morning to the NGO Coalition for the ICC for the coordinating role the organization will play between civil society and the Court.

Through the consensus adoption of a draft resolution entitled “Recognition of the coordinating and facilitating role of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court”, the States parties also acknowledged the important contribution made by non-governmental organizations to the Court’s establishment and noted their appreciation for the role the Coalition will play in promoting worldwide awareness of, and support for, the Court.

Introducing that draft, (document ICC-ASP/2/L.2), Joe Robert Pemagbi (Sierra Leone) said that, since the beginning of efforts to establish an International Criminal Court, NGOs had been supporting the work of governments and the United Nations in an extremely constructive and coordinated manner, thanks to the role of the NGO Coalition for the ICC. The draft reconfirmed a long-term basis for the continued role of the NGO Coalition, and the NGO community in general.  He stressed that the draft resolution did not intend to grant any kind of privileges to the NGO Coalition, and that the liaison role was of a non-exclusive nature.

Explaining her country’s position before adoption of the text, Asenaca Uluiviti (Fiji) said that, although her delegation would join consensus, she would have preferred if the text had been taken up in parallel with the issue of the bar association, as that was a priority matter of the Assembly.  She was confident that, in the future, other umbrella organizations of NGOs would deserve the same recognition.

Opening the meeting, Assembly President, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan), said that, today -- when the entire world recalled the horrors visited on New York City two years ago the loss, the heroism of the rescuers -- he had learned with great sadness of the death of the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Anna Lindh, following an attack by an unknown assailant. The world’s diplomatic community was a warm and friendly one, with years-long friendships. When a member of that community died, the community felt pain.  On behalf of the States parties, observer States and the NGO coalition, he expressed sincere condolences to the Government, Ms. Lindh’s family and friends.

Participants then stood for a minute of silence.  Following that observance, Pal Wrange (Sweden) briefly thanked the Assembly.


Turning to the business of the Bureau, the Assembly President informed parties that the Bureau yesterday had asked the host Government to check on the availability of conference facilities in The Hague, so as to determine the dates and venue of the Assembly’s next meeting, as well as that of the Committee on Budget and Finance.  Pending a reply, the Assembly would take up that item tomorrow.

Also, following its consideration yesterday of the establishment of a trust fund to assist participation of the least developed countries in Assembly meetings, the Bureau would propose a resolution suggesting that the trust fund should be established by the Registrar, under the authority of the Assembly’s Secretariat.

Bearing in mind that the United Nations Secretariat would no longer assist the Assembly of States parties, the Bureau would table another draft resolution expressing the Assembly’s appreciation to the Organization for its important contribution in the establishment of the Court since 1989 when that topic was taken up by the General Assembly.

Also yesterday, the Bureau established a working group to assist it in the appointment of the head of the Permanent Secretariat of the Assembly.  The members of the group are Nigeria, Serbia and Montenegro, Uruguay and Austria.  Assembly Rapporteur Alexander Marschik (Austria) will chair the working group.

On the matter of the divergence between the different language versions of the Conditions of Service and Compensation of Judges of the ICC, which appear as annex VI of the budget for the first financial year, the Bureau proposed that the various language versions be aligned to the negotiated text and it asked the Secretariat to reissue the conditions when preparing the final report of the current session.

Before adjourning the meeting for continued discussions of the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression, the President urged all States to consider becoming party to the Agreement on the Immunities and Privileges of the ICC, which was opened for signature on 10 September 2002.  As of this week, there were 33 signatories and two parties to the Agreement, which requires 10 instruments of ratifications, acceptance, approval, or accession to enter into force.

The Assembly of States parties will meet again tomorrow to take all remaining decisions and to close its second session.

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