Outreach to Victims, Affected Communities, and Civil Society: an Analysis of Prosecutor Bensouda’s Legacy at the ICC


(Paris- The Hague) Today, FIDH has published a paper in partnership with No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) on the outreach activities at the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is the third and final paper in a broader review conducted by FIDH on Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s term (2012-2021) which also puts forwards recommendations for Prosecutor Karim Khan.

For this paper, FIDH and NPWJ consulted 38 civil society groups from 16 countries under preliminary examination or investigation at the ICC (Afghanistan, Bangladesh/Myanmar, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Palestine/Israel, Philippines, Sudan, Uganda, Ukraine, and Venezuela). We also consulted international NGOs and other relevant stakeholders.

Despite the notable efforts to improve the OTP’s outreach strategy, many of the organisations that were consulted highlighted persisting challenges.

“With the continuous spread of misinformation and disinformation, the role of outreach by the Office of the Prosecutor is more important than ever. In ICC situations with insufficient OTP outreach, a negative consequence has been a lack of reliable information to dispel myths about the Court. The OTP must actively and publicly counter misinformation about their activities in the countries they work.”

Raquel Vazquez Llorente, FIDH Representative to the ICC

While the overall approach on outreach developed significantly under the tenure of Prosecutor Bensouda, this report highlights the shortcomings in relation to the scope and content of outreach, and puts forward recommendations for Prosecutor Khan under three thematic areas: (1) policies, strategies and guidelines; (2) communications and materials; and (3) in-country presence and contextual understanding.

“It is clear that the OTP needs to do more to engage with victims, and to address the concerns of specific groups victims in an understandable and accessible way. The OTP needs a clear and cohesive messaging strategy so that affected communities and victims do not receive conflicting messages, have unrealistic expectations, or feel abandoned during crucial moments of the proceedings.”

Calixto Ávila Rincón, Representative of PROVEA (Venezuela)

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 – sexual and gender-based crimes, preliminary examinations, and outreach to victims and affected communities – and will be launched at the 20th Assembly of States Parties on 14 December 2021.

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