ICC at 20: Five issues you need to know concerning the International Criminal Court

Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Court on 1 July 2022, listed here are 5 ways in which the ICC helps construct a extra simply world.

1) Trying the gravest crimes

The ICC was created with the “tens of millions of kids, men and women” in thoughts who “have been victims of unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity”. It is the world’s first everlasting, treaty-based, worldwide prison courtroom to research and prosecute perpetrators of crimes in opposition to humanity, warfare crimes, genocide, and the crime of aggression. 

During the primary twenty years of its operations, the ICC has tried and resolved instances of significance for worldwide justice, shedding mild on the crimes of utilizing baby troopers, the destruction of cultural heritage, sexual violence, or assaults of harmless civilians. Through its judgments in exemplary instances, it’s step by step constructing authoritative case legislation. 31 instances have been opened. Its judges have pronounced 10 convictions and 4 acquittals. 

The Court has 17 ongoing investigations into a number of the world’s most violent conflicts, such because the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Georgia, and Ukraine. 

© Marcus Bleasdale

Skulls collected by residents in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The individuals have been killed throughout assaults on the world in 2002 and 2003.

2) Involving victims

The Court doesn’t solely attempt to punish these chargeable for probably the most critical crimes, but in addition ensures that the voices of the victims are heard. Victims are those that have suffered hurt because of the fee of any crime throughout the Court’s jurisdiction.

Victims take part in all phases of ICC judicial proceedings. More than 10,000 victims of atrocities have participated in proceedings, and the Court maintains direct contact with communities affected by crimes inside its jurisdiction by way of outreach packages.

The Court additionally seeks to guard the protection and bodily and psychological integrity of victims and witnesses. Although victims can’t convey instances, they will convey data to the Prosecutor, together with to resolve whether or not to open an investigation. 

The ICC Trust Fund for Victims is at present making the Court’s first orders on reparations a actuality. Through its help packages, the Fund has additionally supplied bodily, psychological and socio-economic assist to greater than 450,000 victims.

Through support from the Trust Fund for Victims assistance programme in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dorika became part of a collective of women, all survivors of sexual violence, receiving micro-credit loans to start their own businesses

© Finbarr O’Reilly

Through assist from the Trust Fund for Victims help programme in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dorika turned a part of a collective of girls, all survivors of sexual violence, receiving micro-credit loans to begin their very own companies

3) Ensuring truthful trials

All defendants are presumed harmless till confirmed responsible past cheap doubt earlier than the ICC. Each defendant is entitled to public and neutral proceedings.

At the ICC, suspects and accused individuals have vital rights, together with: to learn of the costs; to have sufficient time and services to organize their defence; to be tried with out undue delay; to freely select a lawyer; to obtain exculpatory proof from the Prosecutor.

Among these rights is the correct to observe the proceedings in a language the accused absolutely understands; amongst others. This has led to the Court hiring specialised interpreters and translators in additional than 40 languages, and typically utilizing, concurrently, 4 languages throughout the identical listening to.

In its first 20 years, members have been confronted with a variety of recent substantive and procedural challenges, miles away from the crime scenes. In addition, the crimes prosecuted by the ICC are of a selected nature and infrequently mass crimes requiring vital quantity of proof and loads of efforts to make sure the protection of the witnesses. The proceedings are advanced and there are lots of issues that have to be resolved behind the scenes over the course of a case.  

The Defence team of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, ICC’s first accused convicted for the recruitment and use of child soldiers.© ICC-CPI

The Defence group of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, ICC’s first accused convicted for the recruitment and use of kid troopers.

4) Complementing nationwide courts

The Court doesn’t exchange nationwide courts. It is a courtroom of final resort. States have the first accountability to research, attempt to punish the perpetrators of probably the most critical crimes. The Court will solely step in if the State through which critical crimes underneath the Court’s jurisdiction have been dedicated is unwilling or unable to genuinely tackle these. 

Serious violence is escalating quickly around the globe. The Court‘s assets stay restricted and it may possibly solely take care of a small variety of instances on the similar time. The Court works hand in hand with nationwide and worldwide tribunals.

Machetes collected from the disarmament process, Central African Republic.© Marcus Bleasdale

Machetes collected from the disarmament course of, Central African Republic.

5)    Building extra assist for justice

With the assist of 123 States Parties, from all continents, the ICC has established itself as a everlasting and unbiased judicial establishment. But not like nationwide judicial methods, the Court doesn’t have its personal police. It relies on the cooperation of states, together with to implement its arrest warrants or summonses. Nor does it have territory to relocate witnesses who’re in danger. The ICC thus relies upon, to a big extent, on the assist and cooperation of States. 

As the Court marks its twentieth birthday, it’s calling on States worldwide to resume their assist by offering political and monetary assist, arresting suspects and freezing their property, adopting implementing laws that enacts key Rome Statute provisions in nationwide laws, and by signing voluntary cooperation agreements together with relocation agreements for ICC witnesses.  

Only with the joint and renewed dedication of the worldwide group can the ICC understand its guarantees of extra justice and reconciliation for all.



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