ICC Review: Experts’ Report Sheds Light on the Long Road to Optimising Court’s Performance

07/10/2020
Press release
(c) ICC-CPI

(The Hague, Paris, Nairobi) On 30 September the Group of Independent Experts (IEG) appointed by the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) in December 2019 published their final 350-page report with recommendations to strengthen the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) performance and the Rome Statute System as a whole. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) call upon the ICC to consult and collaborate with civil society, victims and affected communities, in the design of a transparent and effective implementation plan.

“The Independent Expert Review is a timely intervention as the ICC suffers the consequences of external attacks and institutional shortcomings hampering the attainment of justice for victims of the worst crimes. While its existence is a victory over those who attempt to undermine multilateralism and international law, a critical and constructive reflection aimed at improving the ICC’s performance in the fulfilment of its mandate is needed.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President

In this spirit, FIDH and KHRC submitted a confidential report to the IEG in April 2020 and published a public report in June 2020, including concerns, views and proposals by NGOs and victims’ representatives working in or on ICC situations, with recommendations how to optimise the ICC’s performance and give attention to the voices of those most affected by the ICC’s work.

FIDH and KHRC welcome the IEG’s detailed report and in particular the in-depth analyses and the wealth of comprehensive recommendations in relation to the challenges the ICC faces. Both organisations are pleased to see the issues they raised with the experts in relation to collaboration with civil society and the ICC’s victims mandate translated into concrete recommendations with regards to outreach, victim participation, and reparations. Yet they also stress the need for victims’ perspectives to be reflected in the implementation of other groups of recommendations, for example through ensuring the availability of written judgements in languages understood by victim communities and including training on interacting with vulnerable victims in the recommended training curricula.

Our organisations also welcome the experts’ discussion of the ICC’s working culture, bullying, and harassment, and the concrete recommendations to counter concerning unprofessional and predatory behaviour. Civil society has highlighted the importance of taking steps to ensure a healthy and constructive working environment, for example through advocating for a vetting process for the election of the next Prosecutor and requesting the committee on the Election of the Prosecutor in an open letter to adopt a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment.

“The publication of the final report of the Group of Independent Experts with its 384 recommendations is the first step towards opening a new chapter for the ICC. The next step must be a transparent and effective implementation plan with a concrete timeline, adopted in consultation with civil society, victims and affected communities. All stakeholders should play an active role in the recommendations’ implementation: the different ICC organs but also States Parties.”

George Kegoro, KHRC Director

The implementation of all 384 recommendations made by the experts will be a lengthy process. However, a hands-on approach on part of the proposed standing coordination working group will ensure that the IEG’s recommendations are translated into action and that the ICC performance and Rome Statute System are successfully strengthened.

Background

During its last annual session in December 2019, the ASP adopted a resolution mandating a group of nine independent experts to conduct an independent review of three ‘clusters of work’ of the ICC, namely governance, the judiciary, and investigations and prosecutions. The experts were charged with presenting concrete, achievable, and actionable recommendations aimed at enhancing the performance, efficiency, and effectiveness of the ICC. The IEG started their work in January 2020 and submitted their final report on 30 September 2020. On 7 October 2020, a closed session of questions and answers was organised with the independent experts and representatives of states parties, the ICC, and civil society.

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