IBA calls for unified policy on public statements at the ICC

Today, the International Bar Association (IBA) released a report entitled: ICC External Communications: Delivering Information and Fairness.  The fifth in a series of outreach reports from the IBA’s ICC Programme, it extensively evaluates the Court’s public information and external communications policy and other relevant developments in external relations from January 2010 to April 2011.

The IBA Report examines public statements by ICC officials and related jurisprudential developments. The IBA notes with regret that public statements made during the period under review potentially undermine the rights of defendants and the presumption of innocence. The IBA welcomes the important standard-setting judicial decisions on this issue, but urges the Court to go even further by using those decisions as a catalyst for a court-wide policy on public statements by its officials.

Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director, stated: ‘Communication shapes the way the world views the Court and the legitimacy of its proceedings. When the Court speaks, messages must be clear and fair to all participants.’

Several notable achievements were also highlighted in the IBA Report. The IBA strongly welcomes the adoption of the first ICC public information strategy and the increase in external relations activities carried out by ICC principals following the 2010 ICC Review Conference in Kampala. The establishment of a Study Group on Governance by the Assembly of States Parties is also regarded as a positive step to foster closer dialogue between the Court and states.

The IBA Report contains 20 key findings and recommendations aimed at assisting the Court to further strengthen its external communications mandate. These include:

  • Increased coordination between Court organs in order to fully integrate each organ’s communications initiatives;
  • Harmonisation of messages in line with the one-court principle;
  • Adoption of court-wide guidelines and a policy on public statements in the context of on-going proceedings;
  • A revision of the content and frequency of ICC press releases;
  • Streamlining of all tools currently used to publicise information; and the
  • Adoption of a common strategic framework on external relations.


For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
International Bar Association

Press Office
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Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7691 6837
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E-mail: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org


Notes for the Editor

Background to the International Bar Association - International Criminal Court Programme

The International Bar Association - International Criminal Court (IBA-ICC) Programme commenced in 2005 and monitors fair trial and defence related issues at the ICC. The programme conducts thematic legal analysis of the Court’s pre-trial and trial proceedings, and ad hoc evaluations of legal, administrative and institutional issues which potentially affect the rights of defendants, the impartiality of proceedings and the development of international justice. The programme also acts as the interface between the Court and the global legal community. As such, special focus is placed on monitoring emerging issues at the Court of particular relevance to lawyers and collaborating with key partners on specific activities, such as the IBA/ICC List Counsel Campaign, to increase engagement of the legal community on ICC issues.

The work of the programme is supported by a grant from the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.