The ICC tested by the States Parties

17 December 2007 by Franck Petit

Five years after its creation, the International Criminal Court (ICC) employs 750 people, but has only two defendants and one trial scheduled for 2008. During December's Assembly of the States Parties, the major sponsors—led by Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France—came to an understanding that, as one delegate put it, "the ICC is no longer a new institution". A Japanese delegate stated, "It is now in adolescence, and we need to give it certain obligations". He expressed his surprise that the court was requesting a 10% increase in funding for 2008 "even though it still has 10 million euros to spend in 2007." The only trial scheduled for 2008, that of Thomas Lubanga, had already been budgeted for 2007.

Japan emerged as the major new sponsor at the Assembly of States Parties, as he will provide 22% of the ICC's budget in 2008. Immediately, Japan left its mark as a "leader of economic austerity" by taking into account the critiques and recommendations of the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF). The court's other main donors seem satisfied with Japan's increased role partly because, according to a British delegate, the "ICC needs to be pushed on that at this point." Before the Assembly, the CBF had in fact sounded the alarm regarding "serious and ongoing" delays in recruitment, vacant positions, temporary contracts and "continuing under-spending of the Court's funds."

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