, THE HAGUE, Nov 13 – The Dutch government agreed on Tuesday to partially foot the bill for the International Criminal Court’s rent for the next three years, a day before its member states hold tough budget talks.
The announcement by the court’s Assembly of States Parties (ASP) president Tiina Intelmann comes amid growing concern over the world war crimes court’s funding, hit hard by donor nations’ reluctance to give more money because of the financial crisis.
Intelmann told journalists she received a letter from incoming Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans.
“This (Tuesday) morning I received a letter… indicating that the Netherlands as a host state will be able to partially cover the cost of the rent,” she said at the ICC’s current temporary headquarters in one of The Hague’s eastern suburbs.
Nicknamed “The Arc” because of its distinctive architecture, the current building was initially provided by the Netherlands, which has also paid six million euros ($7.6 million) in yearly rent over the last decade.
But this rental agreement ended in July. The Netherlands shortly afterwards announced it would extend rental payments – but only until the end of the year.
Intelmann however said the Netherlands now would give “three million euros a year up to the total sum of nine million euros until 2015 when the court’s permanent premises will be ready.”
Built on a site formerly hosting Dutch military barracks a few kilometres away, the new ICC building will initially cost an estimated 190 million euros.
The 121 states that make up the court’s umbrella body, ASP, as well as NGOs will meet from Wednesday in The Hague to discuss a number of key issues impacting the court.
These include tough talks on its continued funding and its proposed budget and the election of a chief deputy prosecutor to replace Gambia’s Fatou Bensouda, who recently took over as the ICC’s new chief prosecutor.
The issue of rent will also “be discussed by states parties to see if they are able to carry the rest of the cost,” Intelmann said.