Category Archives: Current Events & Discussions
- 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), United Nations Headquarters, New York; March 4-15, 2013
*List is subject to change based on the number of applications received, available funding, and requirements of conference convenors.
To attend a CASIN delegation, applicants must be current graduate or undergraduate students, or recent graduates, of an American college or university. US nationals enrolled abroad are also welcome to apply. Applicants must also be current CASIN members. (If you are not already a member of CASIN, signing up is easy and free.)
How to Apply
If you’re interested in attending a CASIN delegation, please contact Maimoona Zia. Requirements vary for each delegation, but typically consist of a letter of interest, résumé, and professional/academic references. Because of the time required to secure credentials for attendance, potential applicants should express interest in applying as soon as possible, even if an application is not yet complete.
A limited number of scholarships are available on the basis of financial need to defray the costs of travel and accommodations during a CASIN delegation. Delegates are also encouraged to locate external sources of funds. To inquire about funding opportunities, please contact Maimoona Zia.
Apply to Attend:
Event: 13th Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court
Dates: December 8, 2014 – December 17, 2014
Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York City, New York
Application Deadline: October 26, 2014
The Council for American Students in International Negotiations (CASIN) is seeking American students and/or young professionals to serve as delegates to the 13th Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court at the United Nations (ASP13). The Assembly of States Parties (ASP) is composed of states that joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is a legislative body that manages and oversees the ICC. This year, representatives of states parties will gather for general debate, reports on the activities of the Court, elections, including those of judges, amendments to the Rome Statute, discussions related to cooperation, and other matters.
Following training from CASIN staff and affiliates, delegates to ASP13 will observe proceedings, receive briefings from key stakeholders, including diplomats or NGO experts, and record their observations. In the past, notes taken by CASIN delegations have been used to support official NGO reports, journalistic accounts of the proceedings, and students’ own academic research and coursework.
To apply, please see the application instructions and complete the application form. To learn more, visit the official website of ASP13: http://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/asp/sessions/documentation/13th-session/Pages/default.aspx. You may also contact Maimoona Zia, Delegations Chair, Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or comments. Please note that applications must be received by October 26, 2014.
Event: 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58)
Dates: March 10, 2014 – March 21, 2014
Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York City, New York
Application Deadline: January 21, 2014
Would you like to observe diplomacy in action?
Are you passionate about international affairs?
Do you have knowledge of the United Nations and an interest in the status of women?
Apply to gain unprecedented access to the international policymaking process!
The Council for American Students in International Negotiations (CASIN) is seeking American students and/or young professionals to serve as delegates to the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations (CSW58). The Commission’s 2014 priority theme is challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls, and the review theme is access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work. The Commission will also discuss the emerging issue of women’s access to productive resources.
Following training from CASIN staff and affiliates, delegates to CSW58 will observe proceedings, receive briefings from key stakeholders, including diplomats or NGO experts, and record their observations. In the past, notes taken by CASIN delegations have been used to support official NGO reports, journalistic accounts of the proceedings, and students’ own academic research and coursework.
To apply, see the application guide and complete the application form. To learn more, visit the official website of CSW58. You may also contact Maimoona Zia, Delegations Chair, Board of Directors at email@example.com. Please note that applications must be received by January 21, 2014.
CASIN is planning its next delegation. Which United Nations meeting would you prefer to attend if given the opportunity- the 52nd Session of the Commission for Social Development (Feb 11-21, 2014)or 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (March 10-21, 2014) Give us your input by taking this one-question survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QLPSXT8.
Summer 2013 Newsletter: Celebrating International Criminal Justice Day &
Summary of the 57th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women
With a video interview with AMICC, delegate summaries, and more . . .
For the full newsletter:
From 13 November 2012 to 21 November 2012, I served as a CASIN delegate to the International Criminal Court’s (“ICC”) Eleventh Session of the Assembly of States Parties (“ASP”) in The Hague, Netherlands. This experience offered a unique look at the way in which policy and procedure underpin an international legal institution. Three observations fascinated me throughout the formal plenary sessions and the informal side meetings. First, I developed a better understanding of how states parties advocated the views of their governments in a large, multilateral setting. Second, I noticed the collaborative tone adopted by states parties while presenting different issues over the course of the ASP. Third, I was surprised to see how actively involved the NGOs were in the formal and informal sessions. This memorandum will further discuss my observations at this year’s ASP and explain how I believe this experience has helped strengthen my understanding of international legal issues.
Many voices were heard at this year’s ASP. In addition to the 121 states parties to the Rome Statute, this year’s meeting was attended by a handful of non-party states and NGOs. With a full slate of agenda items to cover, it was incumbent on the delegates to respect the procedural constraints and ensure that each session ran smoothly and concluded in a timely manner. The only wrinkle seemed to be the five rounds of voting required to elect Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart. However, this must be viewed as a necessary consequence of the democratic and transparent nature of the ICC’s procedural mechanisms. Towards the end of the ASP, there was an amendment proposed by Belgian delegate Mr. Gérard Dive. After a few responses from other states parties, it became clear that the amendment did not have the support necessary to ensure its passage. Instead of pushing the envelope, Mr. Dive took the cooperative step of withdrawing the amendment from consideration. Multilateral institutions must possess a collective awareness of the need for cooperation, and after attending the ASP I believe that the International Criminal Court possesses this trait.
In both the formal plenary sessions and the informal side sessions, there were several examples of states parties collaborating to moderate and facilitate discussion on trending international legal issues. On 19 November 2012, Denmark and South Africa moderated the formal session on complementarity, or the idea that the ICC can only prosecute crimes once the national courts have failed to do so. The shared European and African perspectives helped legitimize the discussion on complementarity. The Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Villy Søvndal, noted that “increased international cooperation on building and further developing the ability of states to prosecute the most heinous crimes at the national level” was essential to the functioning of both the ICC and domestic criminal courts. The states parties participating in this discussion echoed the comments of Denmark and South Africa. Countries also collaborated on moderating informal side sessions over the course of the ASP. For example, on 20 November 2012, Colombia, Tunisia, and the Victims Rights Working Group co-hosted an event addressing the importance and challenges of victim participation. The commendable efforts of states parties from various parts of the world to facilitate discussion on important international legal rights issues was essential to the success of this year’s ASP.
The work of the NGOs at the ASP was noticeable in both formal and informal sessions. During the general debate, the floor was yielded to a variety of organizations, including the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (“CICC”), the Open Society Justice Initiative, and Amnesty International. More importantly, NGOs moderated and co-hosted side sessions with states parties, including, for example, the Europe Strategy Consultation meeting co-hosted by the CICC and Cyprus. In years past, NGOs were often marginalized in the meetings of large, multilateral institutions and relegated to strict observer status. In the last couples decades, however, there has been a dramatic shift in the role played by NGOs, so much in fact that in this year’s ASP, not only were NGOs fundamental to the meeting’s success, but they were openly lauded by states parties for their efforts. For example, the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Urmas Paet, noted that “governments, civil society and international organizations strive to strengthen domestic jurisdiction when dealing with Rome Statute crimes,” and asked attendees to remember “that civil society has significantly supported both the establishment and the work of the Court.” With the understanding that the work of NGOs has been essential to the success of the ICC, serving as a delegate for CASIN was extremely rewarding and enriching.
The International Criminal Court’s Eleventh Session of the Assembly of States Parties was beneficial to all parties involved. Among other achievements, attendees cooperated with each other to pass next year’s budget, elect a new Deputy Prosecutor, and confront pressing issues of international law. Having the chance to serve as a delegate with CASIN enriched my understanding of the bureaucratic processes underpinning the legal operations of the International Criminal Court. Going forward, I would like to continue to stay involved in the work of NGOs with respect to the ICC and other international legal bodies, and see that others get involved as well. Having this comprehensive, international exposure to an event like the ASP will surely help me as I continue my legal studies in New York City and prepare for post-graduate employment.
The CASIN delegation participated under the umbrella of AMICC, the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the ICC, the U.S. national network of the CICC, or Coalition to the International Criminal Court, a global coalition comprised of 2,500 civil society organizations (“CSOs”) in 150 different countries working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC. Delegations from approximately 90 of the 121 states parties attended the Assembly, as well as numerous observer states and CICC members.
The Assembly was marked by numerous noteworthy events. A new Deputy Prosecutor, James Stewart of Canada, was elected for a nine year term. Although the contested election required five rounds of voting, an objective examination showed Mr. Stewart’s particular merit, being the only bilingual candidate and the only candidate with extensive international criminal legal experience. Election of five member the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims and the nine member Advisory Committee on Nominations proceeded by consensus.
The Assembly also adopted a new Rule of Procedure and Evidence, Rule 132bis, allowing consolidation of pre-trial work under a single judge. The measure, with great potential to improve efficiency at the pre-trial state, was a positive example of using feedback of the court itself to enhance function. The notion was proposed by the Judicial Chambers to the Working Group on Amendments, who codified it in Rule 132bis. The insertion marked the second time that amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence provided a means of altering court procedures without amending the Rome Statute itself, a complex process which would require ratification of any changes by the individual states parties.
Conflicts over passage of the 2013 Budget Resolution were anticipated to occupy large portions of the Plenary Sessions, but were avoided, thanks to behind the scenes efforts by Ambassador Hakan Emsgard of Sweden, and interventions by key states. The 2013 Budget allocation of 115.1 million Euros adopted the recommendations of the Committee on Budget and Finance. The question of who would be responsible for rent costs of the court’s current interim premises, an expense of approximately 6 million Euros annually, resulted in a compromise, with the Court absorbing half the costs and Netherlands and Mexico stepping forward to cover the balance. The budget continues to take a central role in ASP Plenary Sessions; as emphasized by Amnesty International both in their general debate intervention and their published recommendations, the prospect of a “zero growth” budget or selective defending may be the greatest single threat “undermining the Court’s work, including the ability of an independent Prosecutor to respond to impunity in all situations under the Court’s jurisdiction.”
In an unprecedented step, portions of the Plenary Sessions were specifically allocated to the topics of complementarity and state cooperation with the ICC, reflecting growing recognition of the centrality of these issues to the future efficacy of the Court. A plenary session specifically dedicated to complementarity marked a high note, reflecting the highly reiterated tenet that the primary responsibility in prosecuting grave crimes under the Rome Statute is with the states, with ICC involvement only if states are themselves unwilling or unable to act. The session came at a time where efforts towards complementarity by members took on a new urgency, with the increasing occurrence of grave acts potentially within the jurisdiction of the court. The keynote address by Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (“UNDP”), noted the great potential for UNDP Rule of Law and Governance programs already aimed at judicial capacity building to focus on specific capacity to prosecute atrocity crimes. National submissions underscored both the primacy of national prosecutions and the need to strengthen and enable such mechanisms through enactment of national legislation. The focus resulted in adoption, at the end of the assembly, of the first ever ASP resolution on complementarity.
State Cooperation was the second new stand-alone Plenary subject of discussion. This achievement was highly significant since the ICC, unlike national courts, has no direct powers of enforcement outside of very limited circumstances and relies upon states parties to conduct investigations, arrest suspects, protect witnesses, or compel witnesses to attend trial. The keynote speaker, ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, discussed both challenges and successes in cooperation leading to arrest of 100% of the 161 persons indicted by the ICTY. Interventions by states acknowledged the necessity of cooperation in enabling the Court to effectively function, and urged the importance of follow-through and political will in effecting compliance.
This year was the first year that dedicated Cooperation and Complementarity discussions were scheduled within the Plenary Session. During the Court’s first decade, discussion of substantive issues during the Plenary was largely limited to debate over the content of the Omnibus Resolution, with side resolutions such as the 2011 resolution on Cooperation adopted by consensus. Further consideration of issues was reserved for Working Groups, side events hosted by civil society organizations, and informal discussion. The effect of this was twofold: First, substantive issues of potentially great import to the Court’s success were sidelined from main discussions, creating perhaps unintended de-emphasis. Secondly, the non-formal setting for substantive discussion of these issues, whether through informal talks or meetings scheduled in tiny rooms at times often conflicting with the Plenary itself or other side-events, was not conducive to a forum in which all state party participants and interested CSOs could thoroughly discuss subject matter. As the Court enters its second decade, attention the Assembly must naturally extend beyond the preliminary issues characterizing the establishment of the Court to long-term challenges to Court efficacy and function implicating judicial, technical, diplomatic, and political assistance on a national and civil society level. In light of current realities, Complementarity and Cooperation are likely to remain on the Plenary Agenda in the foreseeable future.
Additionally of note were numerous side-events coordinated by the CICC involving regional governments and civil society organizations. Regional meetings, such as the 11/17 CICC Regional Meeting with Middle East and North African Governments, bringing together government representatives of the MENA region, and the 11/17 MENA Regional Strategy Meeting, open to all with an interest in or working in the region, provided intensely valuable forums for regional players to discuss concerns and issues specific to the region. The CICC MENA Government meeting, for example, allowed a forum for regional information such as status reports on ratification and implementation by MENA nations, and for discussion of issues of concern such as non-referral of Syria, the question of Palestinian non-membership to the ICC, and the compatibility of the Rome Statute with Sharia. At the MENA Regional Strategy Meeting, regional CSOs spoke to successes and challenges in addressing issues pertinent to the court in the MENA region, such as capacity building and rule of law initiatives, the need to refer the Syria situation to the ICC, the strong desire of certain Libyan NGOs to see Libya build the capacity to try Libyan indictees in Libya under the complementarity principle.
The Assembly concluded with the passage, by consensus, of eight resolutions: The Omnibus Resolution, the Budget Resolution, Amendment of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Permanent Premises, the Independent Oversight Mechanism, Cooperation, Complementarity, Victims and Reparations, as well as one Recommendation concerning election of the Registrar of the International Criminal Court. The 12th Assembly of States Parties to the ICC will occur on November 20-28, 2013, at the Hague, Netherlands.