INTERVIEW-ICC budget "under pressure" to fund Libya probe

Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:38pm GMT

* Contingency fund of 7 million euros can finance operations

* First Libya arrest warrants expected next month

By Aaron Gray-Block

THE HAGUE, April 14 (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court's budget has come under pressure after being given Libya's file by the U.N. Security Council, but a contingency fund could help pay for investigations if needed, its president said.

Moving with unprecedented swiftness, the ICC prosecutor started a probe into the killing of civilian protesters in Libya after the Security Council referral in February and is expected to request the issue of arrest warrants next month.

ICC President Sang-Hyun Song said the court's current annual budget of 103.6 million euros ($149 million) was agreed prior to the Libya referral and will put "extra pressure" on court finances in what will already be its busiest year of operations.

"We are now in the process of assessing the financial impact this referral will have and to what extent it may necessitate additional funding," Song told Reuters on Thursday.

"We are trying very hard to absorb the cost of the Libya situation within the framework of the existing budget. There is also a contingency fund we would be able to have access to if necessary."   Continued...

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