Will the ICC have the means to match its ambitions?

06 September 2006 by Emmanuel Chicon and Benjamin Bibas

At the same time as the International Criminal Court (ICC) launches its first investigations in Uganda and Congo, the annual Assembly of States parties will be meeting in The Hague from 6 to 10 September. The legal and political body faces the tough challenge of deciding on the 2005 budget. Since the court is beginning to schedule its first trials, this is a critical task.

The 94 nations present - a quarter of which are African - will have to decide between two proposals. Either the budget prepared by the registry (headed by the French-born Bruno Cathala) or the recommendations by experts at the assembly's budget and finance committee (CBF). Caution seems to be the watchword, even in the pro-court camp, where the coalition of NGOs backing the ICC complains that consultation has been lacking. In a document it intends to distribute to the Assembly, the coalition criticizes the choices that have been made and "a marked imbalance between resources for the institution in the Hague and resources for the Court's presence in the field as well as its investigative and judicial activities there." It also deplores the role of "censor" it claims is played by the CBF.

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