, THE HAGUE, Netherlands Nov 20 – ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song is seeking the approval of the Assembly of State Parties for an increased budgetary allocation this year of 10 million Euros to boost the work undertaken by the prosecutor’s office which is accused of failing to properly investigate cases.
Song told the Assembly of State Parties in The Hague on Wednesday that adequate funding is key for the Prosecutor’s office to enhance its effectiveness.
“I therefore, welcome the Committee on Budget and Finance’s recommendation to provide the Court with an appropriate minimum of resources necessary to put this new strategy to action,” the judge said, in his address.
ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda has previously called for more budget allocation, including Wednesday when she addressed the assembly.
“I also acknowledge that in the case of the Prosecutor’s office, a significant budgetary increase is unavoidable if we want to attain the common objective of improved OTP processes and output-which in turn affects the Registry budget because of the increased volume of services that will be required by the OTP,” Song affirmed.
The OTP has been under sharp criticism for failing to conduct a thorough investigation in various situations currently on the court’s calendar—including the Kenyan cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang.
While Ruto and Sang’s trial is underway, Kenyatta’s is due to kick off on February 5 after adjourning three times.
The ICC President is cognizant of the serious questions raised about the Kenyan cases which, he said, will be tackled at the ongoing session.
“In the second half of this year, the ICC commenced trial proceedings which entail new questions and challenges for the Rome Statute system,” he said, in reference to the Kenyan situations.
The OTP has indicated its intent to change its investigative and prosecutorial strategy in achieving convictions, after Bensouda and her predecessor Moreno Ocampo were accused of doing a shoddy job in investigating the Kenyan cases.
“The Court has undertaken a structural review process, carried out by external consultants,” Judge Song said.
“The results of this structural review have been fed into processes of re-prioritization and structural remodeling of the Office of the Prosecutor and the Registry.”
“I know that we can count on the assistance and cooperation of States Parties in pursuing this task,” Song said.
The Court’s President told the assembly that he had done his best in utilising the current budgetary allocation by aligning all the court’s activities within limit.
“We have tried to maximise the pace and efficiency of proceedings within tight budgetary margins,” Song told representatives of the assembly, adding “I believe we have been responsible managers of the funds which the States Parties have provided.”
122 countries are State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Of these, 34 are African States, 18 are Asia-Pacific States, 18 are from Eastern Europe, 27 are from Latin American and Caribbean States, and 25 are from Western Europe and other states.
Kenya is represented in the assembly by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed, Attorney General Githu Muigai, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and Kenya’s ambassador to the UN Macharia Kamau.
In Song’s assessment, 2013 was one of the ICC’s busiest years, based on cases investigated and prosecuted—including the Kenyan situations.
“The Year 2013 has shown the ICC firing on all cylinders,” Song said, citing the commencement of in-country investigations in the Mali situation and a range of cases under development in the Pre-Trial and Trial Chambers.
In addition, he said, the surrender and transfer of Bosco Ntaganda to the court was unexpected and “very welcome development.”