BRUSSELS, Nov 18 (KUNA) -- The International Criminal Court President Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi stated Wednesday that, 2016 would be the Court's busiest year to date due to the growing number of trials and accused persons.
The Court anticipates up to four concurrent trials in 2016 involving a total of 10 accused persons. The Court also expects pre-trial proceedings to commence in early 2016 against two new suspects, recently transferred to custody of the Court, she said at the opening speech of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute during the Assembly's 14th session, held in The Hague, The Netherlands.
In terms of trial proceedings, this would make 2016 the Court's busiest year to date since the Court's inception, she projected.
The President also presented the Court's annual report to the Assembly meeting which was attended by Kuwait a delegation led by Ambassador to Holland Hafeeth Al-Ajmi.
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor of the Court Fatou Bensouda presented an update related to her Office's activities including preliminary examinations either concluded in the past year or ongoing as detailed in her latest report.
In this context, she highlighted her recent request seeking authorization from the Court's Pre-Trial Chamber to open an investigation into the situation in Georgia following the armed conflict of 2008.
The Prosecutor also provided an overview of major developments in the cases currently before the Court.
In this regard, she pointed out that a preliminary examination in Palestine is also running its course, following the lodging of an article 12(3) declaration by the Government of Palestine and accession to the Rome Statute earlier this year.
The ongoing first phase of preliminary examination focuses on gathering and analysing information from all reliable sources. My Office continues to engage with all sides to the conflict as it progresses in its collection and analysis of information, she noted.
The ICC, governed by the Rome Statute, is the world's first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, and potentially, the crime of aggression in the future.
In accordance with article 112 of the Rome Statute, the Assembly is the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC. It is composed of representatives of the States that have ratified and acceded to the Rome Statute. To date, the ICC benefits from the membership of 123 States Parties. (end)