By STUART FORD
The crimes typically investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are at least as grave and complex as the most serious mass atrocity crimes investigated by states. Yet a comparison of the investigative resources available to the ICC and the investigative resources committed to domestic investigations of mass atrocities shows that national governments are willing to devote vastly more resources to domestic investigations.
There is also a stark difference in the way states talk about national and international investigations. The rhetoric of national responses to mass atrocities usually involves a commitment to ‘make every effort,’ ‘pursue every lead’, and ‘use all means at our disposal’ to bring those responsible to justice. In contrast, while most states are generally supportive of the idea of the ICC, their rhetoric often changes dramatically when it comes to discussions about funding the Court.
Some of the states that have been most supportive of the Court in their public statements have vigorously opposed attempts to increase the ICC’s budget to adequately fund its investigations.
This article draws three principal conclusions from its analysis. First and most importantly, the ICC is enormously under-resourced compared to domestic mass atrocity investigations. Second, this lack of resources is at least partly to blame for some of the difficulties the ICC has encountered. The ICC would probably be more successful if it had more resources.
Third and finally, some of the ICC’s strongest supporters, like Britain and France, are being hypocritical and discriminatory by opposing any increase in the ICC’s investigative capacity while simultaneously devoting nearly unlimited resources to their own domestic mass atrocity investigations.
How State Party Members contribute
- Each country is assessed for its ICC contribution based on its global economic position. Tanzania has not paid its ICC bills since 2010. Niger hasn’t paid a penny since 2009. The UN provides funds subject to the approval by the General Assembly. In addition, the court may receive voluntary contributions, in accordance with relevant criteria adopted by the Assembly of State Parties.
- According to Article 112 of the Rome Statute, “a state party which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions shall have no vote in the Assembly…The Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a State Party to vote in the Assembly…if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the State Party”
- A State Party which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions towards the costs of the Court shall have no vote in the Assembly and in the Bureau if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds
- The amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years. The Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a State Party to vote in the Assembly and in the Bureau if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the State Party.
The write is an associate Professor at John Marshall Law School Stuart Ford’s academic interest is public international law, particularly international criminal law and international criminal courts. Read the article on: