Washington, DC - The American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section (CJS) recently submitted detailed comments to the Independent Expert Review of the International Criminal Court. The submission was written in conjunction with the ABA’s Center for Human Rights (CHR) and the International Criminal Court Project, which is jointly supported by CHR and CJS. Comments relied on the expertise of the International Criminal Court Project’s board of advisors and preliminary discussions of the International Criminal Justice Standards Project.
Stakeholders have for some time encouraged an independent review of the Court, an idea that has gained traction through calls by civil society organizations and former and current Court leadership. In December 2019, the ICC Assembly of States Parties authorized a review of the Court to “identify and implement measures to strengthen the Court and improve its performance,” grounded in the Rome Statute’s key principles of “complementarity, integrity and judicial and prosecutorial independence” and involving all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, States Parties, and the Court itself. As part of this process, the Assembly commissioned a group of independent experts to “mak[e] concrete, achievable and actionable recommendations aimed at enhancing the performance, efficiency and effectiveness of the Court and the Rome Statute system.”
The Group of Independent Experts is expected to issue a report with recommendations this fall. The Assembly of States Parties also has charged itself with examining certain topics as part of the review, such as operational performance, cooperation, and the relationship between national jurisdictions and the Court.
The American Bar Association has long supported the International Criminal Court’s existence, independence and essential role in the global system of international justice, most directly through the work of the International Criminal Court Project. The submission focused in particular on the need for investment in professional development, clarifying essential trial procedures, and the impact of judicial management on trial efficiency and predictability. It also encouraged the ICC and Trust Fund for Victims to explore innovative funding mechanisms to increase their long-term sustainability and impact on victims of atrocity crimes.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is part of the Atrocity Crimes Initiative, which is jointly supported by the ABA’s Center for Human Rights and Criminal Justice Section. The International Criminal Court Project advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ICC Project can be found at its website.