30 January 2006

Concluding Resumed Session, States Parties to International Criminal Court Statute Consider Issue of Court's Interim Premises

NEW YORK, 27 January (UN Headquarters) -- The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court took up the issue of the Court's interim premises, as it concluded its two-day resumed fourth session this afternoon. 

Adopting the resolution on interim premises of the Court based in The Hague, as orally amended, the Assembly decided that the Committee on Budget and Finance shall, at its earliest convenience, but not later than the sixth session, advise the Assembly as to the feasibility and appropriateness of any solutions regarding interim premises of the Court. It was also decided that any special session of the Assembly convened by the Bureau for purposes of considering this issue, shall not last more than one day.  Costs related to holding the special session shall be met from the Contingency Fund. 

That text, introduced by Assembly President Bruno Stagno Ugarte (Costa Rica) and contained in document ICC-ASP/4/L.7, was adopted without a vote.

Introducing the report on interim premises (ICC-ASP/4/INF.2), Bruno Cathala, Registrar of the Court, explained that the Court lacked premises to house its 600 employees as of January 2006, as well as additional posts that had been approved by the recruitment authorities.  Currently housed in two wings of the ARC building, the Court would like to have moved to the building's third wing (the B wing), which could have accommodated a further 350 employees. 

However, he continued, it was understood that moving to the B wing was not possible, and that it was necessary to move to a different building altogether.  The cost of such a move would depend on the condition of the building that would be made available.  He noted that the host State had offered funds to carry out relocation-related recruitments and other adjustments.

The representative of the Netherlands, as host State, assured the Assembly that his country understood its responsibility to ensure that the Court could carry out its functions.  Earlier, the host State had believed the B wing would be available for the Court's use by 2007-2008.  However, that date had since been pushed to 2012.

The host State recognized that an alternative location was urgently needed, and that there had been no provision in the Court's budget for the extra costs of relocation, he said.  Currently, the host State and the Court were exploring viable solutions to the problem, as requested by the Assembly, taking into account the travelling time between the current location and the proposed new location, as well as security issues.  Also, the host State would cover the costs involved in operating two dislocated offices, and stood ready to provide the Court with an advance financing facility of 2.5 million euros.

Before taking action on the draft resolution, several States parties emphasized the need for decisions to be made as quickly as possible.  The Assembly President also assured those States parties without representation in The Hague that an open-ended meeting would be held in New York to inform them of the proceedings of the special working group dedicated to the matter.

Also today, the Assembly approved the report of its Credentials Committee, as presented by Committee Chair Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan), and adopted, as orally revised, the report of the session, which was introduced by Rapporteur Alina Orosan (Romania).

The Assembly of States Parties, the management oversight and legislative body of the Court, is composed of representatives of the States that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, currently numbering 100.

States parties held their fourth session at The Hague, Netherlands, from 28 November to 3 December 2005.  During its two-day meeting at Headquarters, the Assembly elected six judges and re-elected six members of the Committee on Budget and Finance.  (For further details on the resumed session, see Press Releases L/3101 and L/3102 issued on 26 January.)

* *** *