Today, the first day of the Assembly of States Parties, began with the general debate. During the first session we heard from several individuals including: the President of Columbia, the President of the ICC, Song Sang-Hyun, the ICC prosecutor, Luis Mereno-Ocampo, and the representative from the European Union. They spoke of both the successes and challenges still facing the court.
President Song addressed the issues of the budget in great detail commenting that "no case should be postponed for financial reasons". He explained that budget cuts would seriously harm Court's ability to proceed with trials.
The Prosecutor gave a brief overview of all of the cases currently before the Court and the progress being made in those prosecutions. Perhaps the most interesting news was the Prosecutor's announcement that the Court would begin to examine the situation on the Korean Peninsula, specifically the recent attack by North Korea on a small South Korean island. He explained that the Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed on South Korean soil and so may be able to move forward after a preliminary investigation.
During the lunch break an event was held with ICC Judge Adrian Fulford. He spoke about the challenges the Court has been facing in securing timely trials. He stated that the whole process "takes far to long" and that it "is critical to learn quickly from the delays of the past and ensure they are not repeated". He then presented six proposals intended to boost the speed of trials. Many of the proposals called for re-evaluation of the evidence and testimony gathering and reporting procedures.
The afternoon session of the general debate saw the presentation of 21 delegations including Uganda, Kenya, and Brazil. Many of the delegates simply reaffirmed their countries commitment to the ICC and called upon all in attendance (whether state party or not) to support and cooperate with the Court. Only Uganda vocalized any regrets about the Court. The delegate claimed the the fact the Joesph Kony and other leaders of the LRA are still fugitives "tests [their] commitment to the Court". They called upon all nations to ensure that those individuals with ICC warrants for their arrest, that still at large, are brought to justice.
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