Independent Expert Review: A Chance to Strengthen ICC’s Impact on Victims

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Paris, Nairobi, The Hague — In a report released today, FIDH and its member organisation, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), propose how a panel of independent experts could pave the way for the International Criminal Court to work toward much-needed reforms to strengthen its performance and impact on victims. In light of the serious internal and institutional shortcomings of the Court, today’s report lays out observations and recommendations on the ICC’s functioning so that it can more effectively undertake its critical role in the global fight against impunity.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) suffers from serious weaknesses which have come under considerable criticism from a wide range of actors. States parties to the Court established an independent expert review (IER) initiative last December, led by a group of nine independent experts, with a mandate to assess the Court’s performance and proposing recommendations to address shortcomings.

The group is tasked with analysing a number of issues affecting the Court’s performance: some of these issues relate to the Court’s governance, such as human resources and the Court’s budget process, while others pertain to the judicial process, including matters affecting victims such as participation and reparation. Finally, the group will examine issues relating to the work of the Office of the Prosecutor, including in the areas of preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions. The experts’ final report is expected in September.

FIDH has strongly encouraged the experts to consult with civil society working in countries where the ICC is investigating or conducting preliminary examinations. The voices of those most affected by the Court’s performance need to be heard and given central attention. In March 2020, FIDH and KHRC convened a stakeholder consultation in Nairobi, Kenya, which brought together civil society and victim legal representatives from 12 countries under ICC investigation or preliminary examination. Based on the consultation, on 15 April FIDH and KHRC made a confidential joint submission to the group of experts to contribute to their review.

The report released today, available in English and French, is a public version of the submission and includes concrete, achievable and actionable recommendations to improve the Court’s overall performance generally, and in regards to victims specifically.

ICC - Observations and recommendations for the Independent Expert Review
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