IBA publishes guide for strengthening International Criminal Court and Rome Statute

Tuesday 12 October 2021

A comprehensive set of recommendations for States Parties to strengthen the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Rome Statute system and to support domestic cooperation with the Court has been published by the International Bar Association (IBA) International Criminal Court and Criminal Law (ICC & ICL) Programme.

Strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute System: A Guide for States Parties (the Guide) provides 111 recommendations for States Parties and seven checklists to assist with periodic reviews of national frameworks. The Guide was launched on 7 October during an online event with speakers, including ICC President Judge Piotr Hofmański, President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, ICC Registrar Peter Lewis, IBA President Sternford Moyo and IBA Executive Director Mark Ellis. The recording of the launch can be watched on the IBA website here.

The Guide is presented in three parts, as follows:

  • Part 1: Ensuring the Assembly’s Effective Oversight of the ICC, including the Assembly of States Parties and its working practices; the role of individual States Parties; the Assembly’s oversight of the ICC; election of ICC officials; the Assembly’s legislative role and oversight of the Trust Fund for Victims;
  • Part 2: Establishing Effective National Frameworks to Fulfil Rome Statute Obligations, including the need for effective national frameworks; establishing effective national frameworks for complementarity; establishing effective national frameworks to cooperate fully with the ICC and establishing or strengthening national cooperation mechanisms; and
  • Part 3: Promoting Universality of the Rome Statute and Ensuring that States Parties Fulfil their Obligations, including promoting positive complementarity; ensuring States Parties’ cooperation with the ICC; promoting cooperation; preventing and responding to non-cooperation; and a periodic review of national frameworks.

IBA President, Mr Moyo, said: ‘The ICC depends on its member states for resources, cooperation and political support. Whilst some States Parties have been cooperative, implemented legislation or provided resources, there remains a lot more to be done. Presently, States are undertaking a comprehensive review of the Court’s functions with the Independent Expert Review. This is an opportune moment for States Parties to reflect on their role in ensuring the effective performance of the ICC and the Rome Statute system. The IBA is honoured to have launched this new guide on strengthening the Court together with the President of the Assembly of States Parties and the ICC President and Registrar.’

The recommendations in the Guide cover a broad spectrum of issues currently faced by the ICC in the implementation of the Rome Statute system. Recommendations 22 and 31, for example, aim to address the under-representation of women in senior roles at the ICC, whilst Recommendation 62 addresses safeguards to ensure that national investigations of Rome Statute crimes are conducted independently and free from political interference.

IBA Executive Director, Dr Ellis, commented: ‘With this project, the IBA focuses on the vital role that individual States Parties play in strengthening the ICC and the Rome Statute system and advancing their shared determination to strengthen the performance of the ICC. It is imperative to keep at the forefront of our endeavours that the ICC was established to try individuals to end impunity for the gravest crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. As the global voice of the legal profession, the IBA also encourages its members to seek opportunities to create more understanding and support for the ICC in their home jurisdictions.’

The Guide forms part of the IBA ICC & ICL Programme’s Implementing Legislation Project, launched in 2020, which aims at broadening the group of countries that have adopted implementation and cooperation legislation for the Rome Statute by promoting the adoption of legislation at a national level.

IBA ICC & ICL Programme Director, Kate Orlovsky, stated: ‘This Guide will be a source of valuable guidance for current as well as future States Parties. To strengthen the ICC, we should not only be improving the work of the Court itself, but also addressing the oversight role of the Assembly of States Parties, establishing more effective national frameworks to fulfil Rome Statute obligations, and continuing to promote universality and full implementation of the Rome Statute.’


Notes to the Editor​​​​​​​

  1. Click here to download Strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute System: A Guide for States Parties
  2. Click here to watch the launch of the report  
    www.ibanet.org/conference-details/CONF2089 ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  3. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice. 

  4. The IBA commenced the International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law (ICC & ICL) Programme in 2005. The Programme monitors issues related to fairness and equality of arms at the ICC and other Hague-based war crimes tribunals and encourages the legal community to engage with the work of these courts. The IBA’s work includes thematic legal analysis of proceedings, and ad hoc evaluations of legal, administrative, and institutional issues which could 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 Courts and the global legal community. As such, special focus is placed on monitoring emerging issues of particular relevance to lawyers and collaborating with key partners on specific activities to increase engagement of the legal community on ICC and ICL issues. 

    Based in The Hague, the IBA ICC & ICL Programme consults and interacts with court officials, civil society organisations, academics, and international lawyers.​​​​​​​​​​​

For further information, please contact: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Kate Orlovsky
Director, Hague Office
International Bar Association


Romana St. Matthew-Daniel
Press Office
International Bar Association


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