Accountability for sexual and gender-based crimes at the ICC: An analysis of Prosecutor Bensouda’s legacy


Paris – The Hague, 18 June 2021 - To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, FIDH and Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ) launch a publication called “Accountability for Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes at the ICC: An Analysis of Prosecutor Bensouda’s Legacy”. This joint paper reviews the work of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes (SGBC) from 2012 to 2021 and identifies key recommendations addressed to the incoming Prosecutor, Karim Khan, who took office on 16 June 2021.

Download the full report here

The FIDH-WIGJ paper will be launched today, Friday 18 June, during a webinar from 15h00 to 16h15 CEST, with the participation of former ICC Prosecutor Bensouda and Prosecutor Khan.
→ Sign up for the launch here
→ Watch it live here
English-French-Spanish interpretation provided

With Fatou Bensouda’s tenure having come to an end, and her successor Karim Khan taking the reins, the report published today highlights the OTP’s most significant achievements in terms of sexual and gender-based crimes investigations and prosecutions, as well as key challenges and opportunities to advance the OTP’s work.

"How the international community understands and addresses sexual violence in conflict has dramatically changed over the past decade. The work of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has greatly contributed to this progress, but there are still opportunities for the Office to fully realize the Rome Statute’s promise of delivering gender-inclusive justice."

Guissou Jahangiri, FIDH Vice-President and Executive Director of OPEN ASIA/Armanshahr

During her nine-year tenure, the ICC’s second Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has made the investigation and prosecution of SGBC a key priority. She demonstrated this commitment from the outset in spearheading and publishing the ground-breaking OTP Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes (SGBC Policy) in 2014, with the aim of guiding the OTP in its work in fighting against impunity for sexual and gender-based crimes, and promoting transparency and clarity, as well as predictability in the application of the legal framework of the Rome Statute to such crimes.

"Through the application of its SGBC Policy, the OTP has made significant inroads in advancing accountability for sexual and gender-based crimes, setting important precedents both within the Court and in the broader field of international criminal law. The new Prosecutor is encouraged to build on this legacy and seize existing opportunities to broaden the reach of accountability for these crimes."

Melinda Reed, Executive Director of WIGJ

This initiative is part of a broader FIDH review of the Prosecution’s work from 2012 to early 2021. The full stocktaking report will cover three priority areas—preliminary examinations, outreach to victims and affected communities, and sexual and gender-based crimes—and will be launched at the 20th Assembly of States Parties in December 2021.

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