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Working Visit of Georgian Coalition for International Criminal Court to Assembly of State Parties of ICC

12.12.2019

 
On December 2-7, 2019, the 18th session of Assembly of State Parties (ASP) of International Criminal Court (ICC) was held in Hague, Netherlands. The ASP which consists of the representatives of 123 member states, is the management oversight and legislative body of the International Criminal Court. It convenes at least once a year.

The representatives of the member organizations of Georgian Coalition for ICC – Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Georgian Center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT), Human Rights Center and Justice International - participated in the plenary sessions and various meetings within the frameworks of the ICC ASP. 

On December 6, 2019, the member organizations of GCICC held an event dedicated to the victims of 2008 Russia-Georgia August War. Within the frameworks of the event, the GCICC members spoke about grave socio-economic state of victims of the August War and mass human rights violations committed by the Russian Federation in the period following the war, as well as investigation into the situation of Georgia by the ICC, ongoing processes and current challenges.

During the visit, the representatives of GCICC had opportunity to meet with the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda and representatives of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). The members of GCICC paid attention to the significance of the investigation, especially considering that 11 years since the August War the offenders have not been revealed and brought to justice for the violations of rights of the victims. Besides, the members of the GCICC once again underlined the need of timely implementing the assistance programs by the ICC Trust Fund for Victims for improving the severe state of the victims. 

The Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda noted that the investigation into the situation of Georgia is followed by numerous challenges, including the fact that long period has passed since the war as well as Russia’s refusal to cooperate with the investigation. Despite this, according to the Prosecutor, the investigation has entered active phase and there may be certain results in the nearest period. However, due to the confidential nature of the ongoing process and the interests of investigation, the Prosecutor refrained to share additional details. 

The representatives of the TFV also noted that the Trust Fund is currently implementing assessment regarding the state of victims of 2008 August War. As a result, in May 2020, the TFV board will make decision regarding the need of implementation of concrete assistance programs for the support of victims in Georgia.

Besides, on December 2, the Minister of Justice stated at the ASP that next year Georgia will propose candidate for the position of Judge at ICC within the quota of Eastern Europe.

The elections of judges will be held in December 2020 at the ICC. Within the frameworks of the elections, the ASP must select judges for 6 vacant positions for 9 years. The judge from Georgia has never been selected as a judge in the ICC. In case of receiving sufficient votes at the next ASP from the member states, the candidate from Georgia will have opportunity to take place among the decision-makers in the Court and bring important contribution to the process of decision-making.

GCICC welcomes the idea of nominating judge from Georgia, especially considering that according to the recent report “10 Years after the August War – Victims of the Situation in Georgia”, one of the recommendations of GCICC was development of the procedure for the selection of candidate for the position of judge at ICC.

At the same time, the process of selection of candidate on national level must be conducted in a transparent and fair manner. For this, the state must take following steps:

Elaborate national legal framework that will determine the rules for nominating the candidates:
Establish independent commission, including through the inclusion of members of civil society and legal circles that will ensure process of selection of candidates and assessment of their qualification;
Refrain from nominating the individual who worked as a public official during last 5 years, including the representatives of diplomatic community and ensure equal opportunity for those candidates who do not have political and governmental ties.

Considering these criteria in the process of selection of candidate of judge on national level will ensure the selection of independent and unbiased candidate. GCICC expressed readiness to actively cooperate with the government of Georgia in order to ensure transparent and fair conduct of this process.

The member organizations of Georgian Coalition for ICC:

- Article 42 of Constitution
-Georgian Center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims
-Georgian Young Lawyers Association
-Human Rights Center
-Human Rights Priority
-International Center on Conflict and Negotiation
-Justice International 

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