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The IBA’s response to the situation in Ukraine
The International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court & International Criminal Law Programme (IBA ICC & ICL Programme) has submitted extensive recommendations to the Group of Independent Experts regarding urgent fair trial concerns at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The submissions draw on the IBA ICC & ICL Programme’s monitoring of fairness and equality of arms at the ICC since 2005.
The Group of Independent Experts (the ‘Experts’), chaired by Justice Richard Goldstone, was established in December 2019 by the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties to make ‘concrete, achievable and actionable recommendations, aimed at enhancing the performance, efficiency and effectiveness of the Court and the Rome Statute system as a whole’.
Dr Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director, stated: ‘The ICC is investigating and prosecuting the most serious crimes in entrenched conflicts around the world. The need for the ICC to be strong and credible is clear, and its credibility depends on its ability to deliver fair trials in line with the Rome Statute and internationally recognised human rights. This Independent Expert Review is an opportunity to strengthen the ICC’s delivery of fair trials and address structural and legal barriers to equality of arms.’
The recommendations call on the Experts to improve the administration of legal aid, increase structural and administrative support for defence counsel, and amend the legal framework to address provisions affecting fair trials. The recommendations also encourage the evaluation of states’ roles providing crucial support to the Court where lack of state cooperation undermines fairness.
Ms Kate Orlovsky, Director of the IBA ICC & ICL Programme, commented: ‘Fair trials are a fundamental requirement of justice, and fair trial issues cut across all aspects of the ICC’s work. While the Experts are seeking to improve the ICC’s governance, judiciary, prosecutions and investigations, it is essential that they always have an eye on fairness and how any proposed changes will affect the rights of the accused.’
The IBA ICC & ICL Programme calls on the Experts to conduct the review in a transparent, comprehensive and inclusive manner, to present recommendations that are evidence-based, and to make their interim report available for comments by civil society organisations and external counsel before the report is finalised.
Notes to the Editor
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