Improving the Effectiveness of the ICC

Today, the 13th Session of Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) begins in New York. Members of the ASP will be tackling a number of important issues, including the election of six new judges and approving the court’s budget for 2015. One of the key discussions taking place will be on improving the effectiveness of the ICC.

The Open Society Justice Initiative will be taking the opportunity to contribute to this discussion in a number of ways. Our statement to the ASP during the General Debate will highlight the need for carefully crafted indicators, which can be useful in measuring progress toward strategic goals.  As the court’s ultimate governing body, the ASP is justified in expecting accountability for the court’s performance, while respecting prosecutorial and judicial independence.

However, the ICC’s performance is dependent in many ways on state support, so any realistic and useful assessment cannot measure the institution in isolation.  True accountability requires disentangling internal from external factors, including the quality and consistency of state cooperation.  Further, the court – while a linchpin of the Rome Statute system – is not its only element.  States retain the primary obligation to investigate and prosecute crimes under the statute.  For both of these reasons, as the court, states, and civil society contribute to the development of indicators for the ICC’s performance, the ASP should undertake a broader, more holistic effort at gauging the performance and progress of all elements of the Rome Statute system.

You can read the Justice Initiative’s full statement here.

Improving the ability of the court to carry out its mandate can also be done by utilizing new forms of technology in investigations. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) located in The Hague faces the challenge of being physically remote from the scene of an international crime, and as a result, is delayed in accessing potential sources of information. New technology, including social media and smartphone applications, is rapidly becoming critical as a means of recording and verifying potential evidence.

To this end, the ICC OTP will be encountering technology-based material, which may ultimately be relied on in court. In partnership with the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, the Open Society Justice Initiative will co-host an event examining how the OTP can best interact with first responders and citizen investigators using new technology in order to maximize its potential positive impact on investigations.

For more information, see the event invitation here.

Further defining the relationship between the ICC and third parties is also critical to the future success of the court. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played an indispensable role in the establishment and functioning of the court and have supported it in a number of ways, including acting as intermediaries, collecting evidence, and identifying victims and witnesses.  However, these relationships have often been formed on an ad hoc basis and have led to miscommunication and sometimes mistrust between NGOs and the ICC.

One need specifically identified earlier this year, is the need to provide written guidelines to NGOs as to what form of evidence collection would be most useful to the ICC OTP. The Open Society Justice Initiative is partnering with International Refugee Rights Initiative and UC Berkeley College of Law Human Rights Center to host a workshop to assess the value of such guidelines. The workshop will also introduce a draft handbook for intermediaries, which is based on the court’s Guidelines Governing the Relations between the Court and Intermediaries, which were adopted in March 2014.

For more information, see the event invitation here.





Post a Comment

Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately.
See our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.