Roundtable discussion - Witnesses under threat? 15 July 2013


Presentations and roundtable discussion (synopsis - full version available below) 


On 15 July 2013, the IBA ICC Programme hosted Witnesses under threat? a roundtable discussion on the ICC’s efforts and challenges in managing and protecting witnesses. The event, held at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, marked the launch of the Programme’s latest report, Witnesses before the International Criminal Court, which encourages reflection on the Court’s reliance on witnesses, assesses its challenges and accomplishments in supporting, protecting and managing witnesses, and provides recommendations for the way forward.

The event opened with welcome remarks by Dr Abiodun Williams, President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice and Dr Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director, followed by a keynote presentation by ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song. Chaired by Thomas Verfuss, President of the Association of Journalists at the ICC, the expert panel comprised: Judge Howard Morrison, ICC and ICTY Judge; Herman von Hebel, ICC Registrar; Gérard Dive, Federal Coordinator for Belgian Cooperation with the ICC and Tribunals; Marc Desalliers, Lead Defence Counsel for Bosco Ntaganda; Prof William Schabas, Professor of Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law at Leiden University; and Cristina Ribeiro Investigation Coordinator in the Office of the Prosecutor (ICC). Panellists discussed the IBA report's key findings and specific recommendations made to the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), the organs of the Court, and the host state (the Netherlands); as well as the complex issues around organising and protecting witnesses such as: obtaining state cooperation; supporting witnesses’ practical and psychosocial needs; preparing witnesses for trial, and protecting them from potential threats or interference; unregulated use of third parties (intermediaries) to liaise with witnesses; the impact of the Court’s missing subpoena power; the increased use of video-link testimony; and ambiguities over the post-testimony legal status of ICC witnesses at risk.

  • Click here to read more about the reports main findings and conclusions.
  • Click here to download Witnesses before the International Criminal Court
  • Click here to view event invite
IBA ICC Programme expert panel: [L-R] Gérard Dive; Marc Desalliers; Herman von Hebel; Thomas Verfuss; Judge Howard Morrison; Cristina Ribeiro; and Prof William Schabas

Full film footage:

Part 1: Addresses and report presentation Part 2: Roundtable discussion and Q&A