IBA says States Parties must lead the way in strengthening and sustaining the ICC

In a report issued today, the International Bar Association (IBA) urges States Parties to the Rome Statute to take the lead in supporting and reinforcing the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Rome Statute system. The IBA notes that while the ICC must continue striving to fulfil its mandate, States can and should do more to support the Court in order to realise the Rome Statute’s vision of ending impunity for egregious crimes.

The report from the IBA/ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme, Sustaining the International Criminal Court: Issues for consideration at the 2010 Review Conference and beyond, examines some of the challenges facing the ICC as preparations advance for the 2010 Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda. The IBA views the 2010 Review Conference as an important opportunity for States Parties to reiterate their unwavering commitment to the Court. The report highlights a number of components critical to sustaining the Court and ensuring its long-term success: robust governance and internal coordination; the cooperation of States Parties; and effective and efficient judicial proceedings.

Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director, said: ‘The signing of the Rome Statute was a landmark in the pursuit of international justice. The ICC has made great progress and is now a fully functioning institution; however, there remain a number of significant internal and external hurdles for the Court to overcome. The 2010 Review Conference offers a unique opportunity for States Parties to reaffirm their commitment to the ICC, and provide leadership in achieving the objectives of the Rome Statute.’

The IBA report makes a number of findings and recommendations concerning the challenges at the Court, the role of States Parties and the Review Conference including:

  • There is an overlap in the respective management roles of the Assembly of States Parties and the Presidency of the Court. An effective mechanism needs to be devised for addressing disputed administrative or governance issues and care must be taken to ensure that policy decisions of the Assembly do not undermine judicial independence.
  • Lack of internal coordination remains a challenge for the Court; there is a need for consistent dialogue between different organs of the ICC and genuine commitment to the ‘One Court’ principle, in order to ensure efficiency at the Court.
  • The Assembly of States Parties must urgently address the reluctance of certain States to fully cooperate with the Court, particularly on matters relating to the defence. The IBA supports the establishment of a Working Group on Cooperation that is mandated to address specific challenges related to cooperation between the Court and States.
  • While the Court must continue to strive for effective and efficient judicial proceedings, States Parties must also ensure that the Court is given the necessary resources to carry out its mandate. 
  • The success of the 2010 Review Conference will largely depend on effective advanced preparation as well as strong political support from States Parties. States should therefore set a realistic agenda of issues to be discussed at the Review Conference, allowing sufficient time for both specific amendments and a stocktaking of the Court’s performance. There should also be a mechanism for following up on the issues raised during the Conference.

Click here to download the report Sustaining the International Criminal Court: Issues for consideration at the 2010 Review Conference and beyond from the IBA website.


For further information please contact:

Lorraine Smith
IBA Programme Manager (ICC)

IBA/ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme
Carnegieplein 2
2517 KJ The Hague
The Netherlands
Tel: +31(0)70 302 2859
E-mail: lorraine.smith@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
International Bar Association

Press Office
10th Floor
1 Stephen Street
London W1T 1AT
United Kingdom

Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7691 6837
Main Office: +44 (0)20 7691 6868
Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731915
Fax: +44 (0)20 7691 6544

E-mail: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

Notes to the Editor

The Assembly of States Parties is the management oversight and legislative body of the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is established by the Rome Statute and composed of representatives of the States – currently 110 – that have ratified and acceded to the Rome Statute. Each State Party has one vote. States which have signed the Rome Statute may attend the meetings of the Assembly as observers.

The Assembly of States Parties decides by consensus or by vote. Issues before the Assembly of States Parties include the adoption of ICC normative texts and of the budget, as well as the election of the judges and of the Prosecutor and the Deputy Prosecutor. The Assembly has no competence to settle any disputes concerning the Court's judicial functions which are to be resolved by a decision of the Court itself.

The Presidency is composed of three judges of the Court, elected to the Presidency by their fellow judges, for a term of three years. The Presidency is responsible for the proper administration of the Court, with the exception of the Office of the Prosecutor. However, the Presidency will coordinate and seek the concurrence of the Prosecutor on all matters of mutual concern.

Article 123 of the Rome Statute provides that seven years after the Statute enters into force, the Secretary General of the United Nations shall convene the first Review Conference to consider any amendments to the Statute. The review may include, but is not limited to, crimes contained in Article 5 of the Statute regarding crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction. The Review Conference is scheduled to be held between 31 May and 11 June in Kampala, Uganda.

Background to the IBA’s ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme

In October 2005, the IBA started its ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

The monitoring component follows and reports on the work and proceedings of the ICC, focusing in particular on issues affecting the fair trial rights of the accused; the implementation of the 1998 Rome Statute, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and related ICC documents, in the context of relevant international standards.

The outreach component of the programme works in partnership with bar associations, lawyers and civil society organisations disseminating information and promoting debate on the ICC in different jurisdictions across the globe. The IBA facilitates a proactive role for bar associations and lawyers in the implementation of the Rome Statute in key countries.

The programme produces an e-Magazine for lawyers as well as periodic reports detailing the key findings and recommendations which are made available to the Court, IBA members, civil society and the public at large. The IBA has a dedicated section on its website which contains full information on the ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme, including programme descriptions, agendas and reports. Further information can be found here.