By Hoile, David
New African , No. 515
CHRLS PATTEN, THE FORMER EU COMMISSIONER FOR external relations, admitted: "The EU had been a strong supporter of the establishment of the ICC; we had worked for years to achieve its creation; we helped to fund organisations that themselves acted as advocates for the court. Europe had adopted a common position on this."
John Rosenthal, the American commentator, agreed: "In the form in which it emerged in Rome, the ICC is, more humbly and realistically, just a project of the European Union."
The EU's avid support for the ICC, from conception to Statute and beyond is a matter of record. The EU's support goes back two decades. Judge Sang-Hyun Song, president of the ICC, in a keynote speech to European parliamentarians in October 2009 acknowledged the EU's pivotal role within the ICC: "The [European] Parliament was instrumental in mobilising the forces that brought the ICC into existence," he said matter-of-factly, before acknowledging the EU's key funding of pro-ICC NGOs: "Beyond the assessed contributions of its member states, the EU has provided critical financial backing for PGA [Parliamentarians for Global Action] and other effective civil society proponents of international criminal justice."
The EU clearly dominates the ICC financially. The EU openly admits that "since the set-up of the ICC, EU member states have been the main contributors to the ICC". Up to July 2007, EU member states provided 75.6% of the ICC's resources. Funding by Japan, following its accession in July 2007, saw this EU contribution decrease to 57.4%, but it remains pivotal.
Staffing-wise, while the ICC gives a large number of administrative positions and sinecures to a wide range of nationalities, this is window dressing. The power remains with the big four funders: Germany, Britain, France and Italy. They dominate the Court, they make the running and the decisions: It is their Court, just as to all intents and purposes they dominate the EU.
In the ICC Assembly of States Parties, the EU again plays a pivotal role as the largest player and biggest funder. The Israeli researcher, Seth Frantzman, says: "The Court is primarily European-run. Yet those it judges are not from Europe; they are usually [taken] from their home countries and shipped to Europe to sit in a European prison ... This is at best an unfair system and at worst a colonialist one."
Ihe EU used the revised Cotonou Agreement which entered into force in 2002 to coerce African states to sign and ratify the ICC Rome Statute. The consequences of an ACP state not ratifying all of the Cotonou Agreement, including the ICC clauses embedded in it, were clear: That country would lose hundreds of millions of euros in "development" aid. …