IBA Advises ICC to Deepen Outreach Activities in Sudan and Uganda

A report released today by the International Bar Association (IBA)’s Human Rights Institute (HRI), focuses on the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s outreach programmes in Sudan and Uganda.

The report welcomes the ICC’s adoption of a Strategic Plan for Outreach which lends greater clarity and transparency to the outreach function of the Court. However, the report identifies five key areas in which the Court’s outreach should be strengthened:

  • The level of outreach must be significantly increased in all situation countries, particularly Sudan where no outreach has been conducted in the country to date.
  • The ICC’s presence must be both visible and accessible in the societies in which it is investigating. 
  • The Court should shift its conception of outreach to a two-way participatory process rather than simple information provision. 
  • Outreach must start during the analysis phase rather than waiting until investigations begin.
  • Outreach activities should be contextual and specific to the needs and interests of the society in which the Court is placed.

Justice Richard Goldstone, Co-Chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute, former Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, states: ‘To date, the ICC has not had a sufficiently visible presence in the societies which it is investigating. This has made the Court appear alien and disconnected from the communities most affected. In consequence, misconceptions and confusion about the Court’s role are common. The adoption of an Outreach Strategy is therefore a welcome turning point for the ICC.’

The report further addresses debates surrounding whether the five arrest warrants issued by the ICC against leaders of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) could be withdrawn in light of peace negotiations taking place between the LRA and the Ugandan Government. IBA commentary on this issue is drawn from feedback from consultative workshops conducted by the IBA in Uganda, which reflect a broad spectrum of opinion on the ICC, peace and justice.

Click here to download the report from the IBA website.

For further information please contact:

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Background to the ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme

In October 2005, the IBA started a new ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme funded by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.

The IBA conducts outreach activities with the legal community and civil society in countries such as India, Sudan and Uganda and with the wider IBA membership, including its 198 member bar associations and law societies. In the course of its outreach activities, the IBA provides updates on the ICC's work; provides a forum for discussion and debate on the ICC in the society concerned; and works with lawyers to develop advocacy and litigation strategies to strengthen the capacity of the national legal system to investigate and prosecute international crimes.

The IBA has a full time representative in The Hague who monitors the work and the 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. Input is received from legal experts and other interested parties in assessing the work and proceedings of the Court.