NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18 – Herman von Hebel was sworn into office on Thursday to replace Silvana Arbia as the Registrar of the International Criminal Court.
Arbia has served as Registrar since 2008, where she was in charge of administration and servicing of the court.
“Von Hebel was elected for a period of five years by the judges of the court on 8 March 2013. The registry is responsible for general court management, security, public information, court records, translation and interpretation, counsel support, support for victims to participate in proceedings and apply for reparations, and much more,” ICC Spokesman Fadi el Abdallah indicated.
While taking his oath von Hebel pledged to ensure that the court is facilitated to meet its goals of fighting impunity and delivering justice.
“Too many people in the world have suffered and continue to suffer from the commission of horrendous crimes. Impunity for the perpetrators is not an option,” he asserted.
His will now also handle the Kenyan cases in which the registry is willing to assist President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua arap Sang to participate in the trials via video link if the budget costs are met.
Arbia said a budget of Sh6 million would be required.
Meanwhile, the new ICC premises will be completed at a cost of up to 190 million euros.
ICC Outreach Coordinator Maria Kamara told Capital FM News that the new premises will save the government of Netherlands 6 million euros paid per year as rent.
“Up until the end of 2012 the Government of the Netherlands paid the full rent (for the first 11 years of the ICC’s existence). From 2013-2015 the Government of the Netherlands will be paying 50 percent of the annual rent and the remaining 50 percent will be paid by the ICC (ultimately this is paid by the Assembly of States Parties Member States through their annual contributions to the Court’s budget),” she explained.
According to Kamara, the court currently operates in three separate buildings, The Arc with 14 floors, The Haagse Veste (7 floors) and a warehouse on Saturnustraat which has two floors.
The three privately owned buildings are located within a distance of 1km.
“Being housed in three separate buildings also means that a number of sections of the court are located remotely from each other, meaning some facilities and tasks are duplicated in the individual buildings (like catering facilities, reprographic facilities).
The Arc which stands out like the ICC monument and Haagse Veste buildings are both shared with Eurojust – an agency of the European Union dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters and the warehouse until recently was shared with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“There is currently no single existing building that fulfils the complete requirements of the ICC with regards to space, functionality, the necessary specialist facilities, security and safety requirements. The main Arc building, for example, contains just over 800 workstations, with the remaining 300 workstations spread over an additional two buildings,” Kamara explained.
She said two small courtrooms were added to the Arc office building, while the parking garage of the building was converted into the waiting areas and a press centre.
“There is a lack of waiting rooms, rooms for witnesses and victims and the public galleries have limited capacity. There is no capacity to add any further office space or court rooms in the future as the workload of the court continues to increase,” she noted.
The Public Affairs Unit said construction of the new ICC premises kicked off on Wednesday at The Hague to help the court save on costs and among others improve efficiency by providing secure and ample operating space.