IBA Releases Report on Proceedings of the International Criminal Court
The International Bar Association (IBA) Human Rights Institute today released its second report on the work and proceedings of the International Criminal Court (ICC) based in The Hague.
The IBA has received funding from the MacArthur Foundation for a two-year programme to monitor the work and proceedings of the ICC and to conduct training activities on the Court.
The report covers the period from April to August 2006. It summarises Pre-Trial Chamber activity during this period, which has intensified following the appearance of the first accused, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, from the Democratic Republic of Congo on 20 March this year. The Lubanga case is the first opportunity to test the practical and legal implementation of the Statute and Rules of the Court in such areas as victim participation, disclosure, interlocutory appeal rights and jurisdiction and admissibility challenges.
Justice Richard Goldstone, the IBA Human Rights Institute Co-Chair and former Prosecutor of the ICTY and ICTR, stated that the report ‘comes at a crucial time in the operation of the International Criminal Court and offers an insight into the challenges and expectations facing the world’s criminal court in its early years’.
The IBA report focuses on a number of important challenges facing the court in this new phase of its operation:
- the continued need to ensure adequate resources, in particular staff, for the preparation of the defence to facilitate equality of arms and efficiency of the proceedings;
- the need for the Chamber, as judicial supervisors of the proceedings, to take an active role in resolving procedural confusion to minimise delay;
- the developing regime of victim participation, and the future need for the judges to devise a system which ensures victim involvement does not prejudice defence fair trial rights or encumber proceedings;
- input from civil society on the narrowness of the charges against Thomas Lubanga (which were limited to the enlistment, conscription and use of child soldiers), and the potential effect on victims’ involvement in proceedings;
- the need for effective public access to decisions, documents, hearings and administrative arrangements to maximise public transparency; and
- progress of proceedings in the three situations before the Court: DRC, Uganda and Darfur, limited Court activity to date, the need for increased state cooperation to support the Court and financial constraints.
The IBA will continue to follow and regularly report on these and other issues, paying particular attention to the fair trial rights of the accused in the context of relevant international standards.
In preparing the report, the IBA sought views from many sources, including academic institutions, non-governmental organisations, diplomatic missions, defence counsel, and staff of the ICC, as well as other international criminal courts and ad hoc tribunals.
The IBA also received input from a number of judges and lawyers with experience in international criminal, humanitarian and human rights law.
For further information, please contact:
Romana St Matthew - Daniel
International Bar Association
1 Stephen Street
London W1T 1AT
Tel: +1 312 735 8610
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7691 6544
Background to the ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme
In October 2005, the IBA started a new ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme funded by the MacArthur Foundation.
The outreach component to the programme aims to deepen understanding of the place of the ICC both within the broader landscape of international justice and within particular contexts. The IBA has a lawyer based in London who works in partnership with bar associations, lawyers and civil society organisations in key countries, including India, Sudan and Uganda; works with bar associations on the role of lawyers in advancing ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute; and holds sessions on the ICC at regional and international IBA conferences. Reports on outreach, complementarily and ratification/ implementation of the Rome Statute and feedback from the IBA's outreach activities will be made available.
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.