A comfortable budget, but a lack of passion
66.784,200 euros: this was the official budget allocated to the International Criminal Court for 2005 at the close of the Assembly of State Parties held at The Hague from 6 to 10 September. It was a success for those who feared funding cuts. But many participants bitterly lamented the lack of passion that marked the week's meeting.
Simone Veil, the French voluntary chairperson of the Victim Trust Fund, was one of the first speakers to take the floor, making a strong case for victim support. Over the last year, the Fund has only managed to attract the meagre sum of 20,000 euros. Extra funding was crucial to ensure the court\'s credibility, said Veil. By the end of the week, the Fund appeared to be the major "winner". From now on, funds will be drawn from the regular budget to finance three development and administrative staff. In addition, four countries - France, The Netherlands, Finland and Great Britain - announced they were making their first donations, pledging a total of 375,000 euros. Registrar Bruno Cathala was pleased with the outcome: "The Assembly took on board the question of victims, which is an encouraging sign," he said.