International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Q & A with International Criminal Court Registrar Herman von Hebel: Part II

Herman von Hebel is the newly-elected Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC). He spoke with the Open Society Justice Initiative in June 2013 and answered questions about his experience at other international tribunals, the Registry’s role in outreach, and priorities going forward.

TS: You earlier mentioned the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). How has this job compared so far to past positions as the Registrar for the SCSL and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon?

HvH: It is interesting because this is the third time I have had the privilege of being the Registrar for such institutions. The amazing thing is that every time it has proven to be a completely different job. Although the title is the same and the … Continue Reading

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Implications of Ruto’s possible excusal from trial – Part 3 (Perception)

Dear Readers – Please find the below article, the last of a three-part series, written by Leah Campbell, a former Associate Legal Officer at the ICTY and Associate Political Affairs Officer at the UN Department of Political Affairs. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Much ink was spilled and hands were wrung in filings over how the trial chamber’s decision to excuse William Samoei Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya from continuous presence at trial would make the International Criminal Court (ICC) look. The Prosecution warned that excusing Mr. Ruto would have an “extremely negative impact on how the Court is perceived” and invite “a flood of excusal … Continue Reading

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Implications of Ruto’s Possible Excusal from Trial – Part 2 (What could it mean for the trial?)

Dear Readers – Please find the below article, the second in a three-part series, written by Leah Campbell, a former Associate Legal Officer at the ICTY and Associate Political Affairs Officer at the UN Department of Political Affairs. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

For the first time, the International Criminal Court (ICC) may allow an accused to attend his trial part-time. A decision to allow William Samoei Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya, to be excused from continuous attendance at his trial is currently on appeal. Whether or not the decision is upheld, the fact that the accused is even having such a conversation with the panel … Continue Reading

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Implications of Ruto’s Possible Excusal from Trial – Part 1 (Issues on Appeal)

Dear Readers – Please find the below article, the first in a three-part series, written by Leah Campbell, a former Associate Legal Officer at the ICTY and Associate Political Affairs Officer at the UN Department of Political Affairs. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On September 10, 2013, William Samoei Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya and his co-accused, Joshua Arap Sang, are expected to stand before Trial Chamber V(A) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and hear opening arguments in their case. Both men will appear voluntarily – a rarity in itself when it comes to international criminal trials – but even more unique is the question … Continue Reading

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Q & A with International Criminal Court Registrar Herman von Hebel: Part I

Herman von Hebel is the newly-elected Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC). He spoke with the Open Society Justice Initiative in June 2013 and answered questions about the work of the Registry and its role in providing administrative and judicial support to the ICC. 

Taegin Stevenson (TS): Could you describe how the registry helps to achieve the International Criminal Court’s mandate to end impunity for mass atrocities and how your role as the Registrar helps carry out this mandate?

Herman von Hebel (HvH): Registrar is a misleading title. I don’t think it covers the job very well. If you compare it with national legal systems either where the registrar is a non-existing concept or where it is an existing concept, but … Continue Reading

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Two opinion polls show support for the ICC drops in Kenya

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has lost public support in Kenya, according to two recent opinion polls, but The Hague-based court remains the preferred option for seeking justice for the victims of the election violence of five years ago.

These are the first polls to be released since Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was declared president in March. Kenyatta faces five counts of crimes of humanity before the ICC, while, in a separate case before the court, his deputy William Samoei Ruto faces three counts of crimes against humanity. Ruto is charged in the same case as radio journalist Joshua arap Sang, who also faces three counts of crimes against humanity.

Public support dropped to 39 percent in June this year, according to a … Continue Reading

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Kenya sends mixed signals on the ICC – Part 4

In this final installment of a four-part series, ICC Kenya Monitor writes about the previous diplomatic efforts to have the Kenya cases deferred and asks what all this current activity means.

Kenya has been here before. After the initial shock on December 15, 2010 when the then International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo made public whom he intended to prosecute, the Kenyan government swung into action in the new year and began a high-level lobbying effort.

President Mwai Kibaki dispatched then Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to see the heads of state of the African countries that at the time were members of the UN Security Council, namely Gabon, Nigeria, and South Africa. He also went to neighboring Uganda. Two other cabinet ministers … Continue Reading

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Kenya sends mixed signals on the ICC – Part 3

In this third part of a four-part series, ICC Kenya Monitor writes about the effort to have the Kenya cases discussed at the May 2013 African Union summit.

As Kenya’s note verbale made its way through the UN Security Council, there was a parallel diplomatic effort to get the African Union (AU) to once again make a resolution on the Kenya cases. This push was focused on the AU Heads of State and Government summit that took place May 26 and 27, after the continental body marked the 50th anniversary of African unity on May 25.

Ordinarily the AU holds two summits every year, one in January and another in July. However, this year its second leaders’ meeting was brought forward so Africa’s presidents, prime … Continue Reading

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Kenya sends mixed signals on the ICC – Part 2

In this second part of a four-part series, ICC Kenya Monitor writes about the Kenyan government’s attempts to have the United Nations Security Council terminate the cases before the ICC. 

The Kenyan government has been executing a three-pronged strategy over the past two months with regards to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In addition to court filings and public statements, as discussed yesterday, there is a  third element of the strategy, which is the most visible. This is the diplomatic push to either terminate the Kenya cases or at least have them brought home.

It is the part of the strategy aimed at assuring President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta’s and Deputy President William Samoei Ruto’s political base that they are taking the fight to Office of … Continue Reading

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Kenya sends mixed signals on the ICC – Part 1

In this first part of a four-part series, ICC Kenya Monitor writes about the Kenyan government’s cooperation with the International Criminal Court through its court filings and public statements. 

The African Union’s (AU’s) resolution on the Kenya cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is part of a three-pronged strategy the Kenyan government has been executing over the past two months with regards to the ICC, where the president and deputy president are scheduled to face trial.

On Monday last week, African leaders resolved to direct the AU’s executive arm to ask the United Nations Security Council to refer the upcoming trials President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang face at the ICC to Kenya’s criminal … Continue Reading

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