ICC Breaks Ground on Its Permanent Home

by Kevin Jon Heller

So reports the Kuwait News Agency. The building is expected to be completed in late 2015. Here is the winning design:


You can read more about the design, and see more artists renderings, here. It’s not a bad design, but it’s a bit too high-modernist for my taste. I preferred the one by Wiel Arets Architects & Associates that won third prize in the ICC’s competition. You can find it here.

How the financially-strapped Court is paying for its fancy new digs — which are expected to cost 190,000,000 euros — is anyone’s guess.


2 Responses

  1. Kevin,
    I’m sure it’s just a rhetorical flourish, but there’s no need to guess. The Host State gave a loan, and States Parties have already begun making advance payments. There are all sorts of interesting questions that could be explored around the politics of financing, but my main point is this: States Parties have consistently exhibited a strong commitment to the idea of a permanent ICC, and for this reason I see no reason to fear that they wouldn’t fully fund permanent premises. The question is whether and to what extent they will fund what goes on inside it (I think the small number of available courtrooms may answer that…). And a big question here is whether the ASP will ask the ICC to absorb costs incurred due to delays in the ASP’s permanent premises project at the expense of the Court’s operations.
    We should also be careful not to overstate the purely financial aspect of the constraints facing the ICC and the ASP. 190 million may seem like a lot, but that’s small change in national budgets when spread out across all States Parties and over many years. Yes, some States Parties have seen cuts to their budget lines which include the ICC, some ASP delegates and Hague Working Group members are looking for achievements in cost-cutting to report to their capitals, and the ICC could do more to contain costs. But how much money is spent on overseeing the ASP budget and on the Permanent Premises Oversight Committee with how little return per State? It’s probably not a coincidence that the pressure for a “zero-growth” budget came at the same time as increasing concern of States Parties over the Prosecutorial Strategy and the scope of future ICC cases as well as concern over their lack of ability to influence independent judicial decision with which they disagreed.  So, in sum, States Parties will have no problem funding the existence of the ICC, but the challenge is will they fund its independent operations.

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