Coalition for the International Criminal Court
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ASP Working Group on Amendments
The eighth session of the ASP of November 2009 was foreseen to serve as a filtering mechanism of the issues that will be discussed at the Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda (31 May to 11 June 2010). Thus, the ASP decided to forward to the Review Conference for its consideration only the proposals for amendments concerning the revision of Article 124 of the Statute, the possible adoption of provisions for the crime of aggression and the first of the proposals put forward by Belgium to extend the jurisdiction of the Court to cover the use of certain weapons in the context of armed conflicts not of an international character.

In addition, a number of states parties formally submitted other amendment proposals to the UN Secretary-General. As a result of discussions at the eighth ASP session, most of the proposals did not gather sufficient support for their consideration at the Review Conference. Nevertheless, the ASP agreed to create an ASP Working Group on Amendments that will serve as a mechanism to continue discussions on all of the submitted proposals and any other future proposal starting at the ninth ASP session in December 2010.

Other proposals discussed at the eighth ASP were the following:
  • Proposals tabled by Belgium regarding the criminalization as war crimes of the use of biological weapons, chemical weapons and anti-personnel mines in international conflicts and conflicts of a non-international character; and adding restrictions on the use of excessively injurious or indiscriminate weapons in international conflicts and those of a non-international character:

Most delegations were of the view that these proposals were not sufficiently mature to submit them for consideration at the Review Conference. In this regard, some delegations differentiated between a comprehensive prohibition of the use of a weapon and the criminalization of their use.
  • A proposal put forward by Mexico regarding the inclusion of the use and the threat to use nuclear weapons in the definition of war crimes:

Although a number of delegations welcomed the proposal and the idea to continue discussions on the matter, the general feeling was that, due to the nature of the proposal, much more work needed to be done on the matter before considering it at the Review Conference.
  • A proposal from Norway pertaining to strengthening the enforcement of ICC prison sentences through international or regional arrangements which would enable states to qualify for acceptance of sentenced persons, including through receipt of voluntary financial contributions to upgrade prison facilities and other assistance or supervision:

Although the ASP decided not to consider it as a proposed amendment at the Review Conference, the ASP requested the Bureau to consider the issue of strengthening the enforcement of sentences for a decision on the matter to be considered at the Review Conference.
  • A proposal offered by the Netherlands regarding the inclusion of the crime of terrorism in Article 5 of the Statute:

In general, delegations supported the proposal, however, there was a general impression that discussions in this regard were premature, taking into account that there is no agreed definition of the crime to date at the United Nations, which was, for many, a precondition for the inclusion of terrorism as a crime in the Rome Statute.
  • A proposal submitted by Belize and Trinidad and Tobago on the inclusion of the crime of international drug trafficking in Article 5 of the Statute:

Delegations expressed concerned about whether the threshold by which the crime is considered one of the most serious crimes for the international community could be resolved without adequate discussions and suggested to postpone the matter until after the Review Conference.
  • A proposal put forward by South Africa on behalf of all African parties to the Rome Statute regarding Article 16 of the Statute aiming at extending the power to defer cases and situations before the ICC to the UN General Assembly.

General concern was expressed regarding the possibility of broadening the scope for political interference with the judicial activities of the Court. Similarly, delegations noted the complexity of the issues involving the relationship between the UN organs.