By Niklas Jakobsson
Last week Justice Hub published an article on state contributions to the International Criminal Court. Stuffed away in a budgetary annex, the document used as the source of the story made for a worrisome read. 20 per cent of ICC member states have substantially fallen behind on their contributions to the court and almost a dozen are now ineligible to vote.
The story itself gained a lot of traction on social media, with concerns raised about the financial implications of this underfunding. But several social media commentators took the opportunity to connect the payments to situations and the credibility of the ICC.
It seems as though the argument of the ICC’s alleged Africa bias can be raised out of anything these days. Some comments were harsher than others, but the one I’ve included below gives a 140 character summary of what the main arguments were.
The discussion wasn’t one-sided, and several social media users came to the Court’s defence. Self-referrals and UNSC referrals make up a sizeable amount of the African cases currently being processed by the ICC – a point which was made throughout the discussion.
The conversation then spiraled to the point where it was all about Bush, Blair, Netanyahu, etc. One of the many recurring arguments is that the Court will have no legitimacy until these people are in the docs of the ICC. But, as we know, the Court has a very restricted jurisdiction, which limits the possibility for a lot of leaders and former leaders to be indicted.
With the al-Bashir saga still hot off the presses, it was inevitable to notice that South Africa has already paid its dues to the Court. Despite that, it seems willing and able to let people indicted by the Court leave the country.
There were some interesting reactions to the story from a financial point-of-view. It seems as though the implications of not paying your ICC bills were fairly unknown amongst the international justice community.
Digging through the replies and comments to the story on Twitter, I found one person who observed that the map of contributors is also a great visualization of states which are not parties to the Rome Statute.
After spending hours going through social media, I realised that the ICC is just like any other institution. It all boils down to money. From the ASP came another story on how the new ICC premises is running substantially over budget. But does anyone really care?
– What should the ASP do to ensure states pay their bills?
– Should there be greater repercussions for not paying?
The Weekly Hubble features the most popular or controversial international justice story of the past week and reactions on social media to the news.