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ICC registrar Herman von Hebel in his new offices (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)
27 January 2016

IJT 189 takes an in depth look at the International Criminal Court with an in depth interview with the court's registrar Herman von Hebel. We also look ahead at what the court will face in 2016 and experts weigh in on where the ICC stands now.

 

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Ivorian ex-president Laurent Gbabgo at his confirmation of charges hearing at the ICC in February 2013 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
27 January 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

As the International Criminal Court (ICC) prepares to try its first former head of state when Ivory Coast's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo goes on trial in The Hague Thursday many question if the ICC is balanced in trying only the leadership of one side in the post-electoral violence.
 

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Dominc Ongwen at the ICC for his confirmation of charges hearing (Photo: Twitter/ICC)
21 January 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The confirmation of charges hearing of former Lord's Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen started before the International Criminal Court (ICC) 21 January.
Prosecutor Benjamin Gumpert painted a harrowing picture of a victim and former child soldier Dominic Ongwen [IJT-174] who turned into a perpetrator himself. Ongwen went on to play a “crucial” role in the LRA's practice of abducting children, some as young as six years old, to be used as child soldiers and women and girls to be used as sex slaves or so-called  forced wives of LRA fighters.

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ICC registrar Herman von Hebel speaks with IJT in his office  (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)
20 January 2016 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

In part 1 of an interview with the International Criminal Court’s registrar [IJT-189], IJT asked Herman von Hebel about the ICC budget for 2016 and criticism he’s faced for internal programmes, such as ReVision. Part 2 looks at the bigger picture, asking how he sees the next few years at the ICC. Topics include prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s model for how much work her office can realistically do and its resource implications, the introduction of performance indicators at the court and a website that the ICC’s own staff are reluctant to rely on for timely information.

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ICC registrar Herman von Hebel in his new offices (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)
18 January 2016 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

It’s a new era for the International Criminal Court. New premises [IJT-189]. New trials. New pressures. Shortly after he moved into to his new office late last year, IJT met with the court’s registrar, Herman von Hebel. Ensconced high up in one of the building’s six towers, he has a view to woods one way and the judges’ tower and the courtrooms the other. An ICC flag and four tomato-red chairs have been salvaged from his previous office.

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Lady justice, Williamson county court house (Photo: Flickr/Jack)
06 January 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The range of justice processes across the world is continuing to become more multi-faceted each year – and 2016 is no exception. But while providing fodder for the burgeoning groups of academics considering the significance and influence of the wide variety of courts, there is no sense that the world has settled on an ideal format with which to hold perpetrators of violence during conflicts to account. The plurality is the grist to IJT’s mill. For the year ahead, there are significant cases – and institutions – coming to an end, while other sagas continue.

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The ICC presents its annual report to Assembly of States Parties in November 2015 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
17 December 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

In the face of financial and geopolitical realities and with several major judicial developments and administrative reforms coming up, 2016 could be a decisive year for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Visitors must cross a moat before entering the International Criminal Court's new permanent premises (Photo: Tjitske Lingsma)
15 December 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma and Janet H. Anderson, The Hague

Six block buildings, the tallest holding the courtrooms, stand in a row along the coastal landscape of The Hague. They are bedecked with trapezoid windows, meant to reflect the changing daylight and convey a sense of transparency. High fences are absent. The sand dunes that protect the Netherlands from the North Sea’s high tide are, along with many other measures, ingeniously used to provide security. This is the new permanent premises of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Helen Mack, sister of murdered Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, speaks at March 2015 meeting of La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) (Photo: Flickr/cidh/Daniel Cima)
02 December 2015

IJT 188 takes a close look at Guatemala's newly opened 'high-risk' court, which many hope will expedite lawsuits concerning the country's decades-long armed conflict. 

Other features:

  • In the Netherlands, an Afghan army commander-turned-Dutch national was arrested and accused of war crimes allegedly committed in 1979.
  • In Bangladesh, two men were hanged for committing international crimes during the war of independence, compelling many Bangladeshis to celebrate and international human rights organizations to question the International Crimes Tribunal's fairness.
  • While ICC state parties held their annual meeting last month in The Hague, groups discussed on the side whether ecocide could become the fifth crime against peace.

 

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Secoya chief Humberto Piaguaje, with microphone, protests among Rainforest Action Network activists outside Chevron’s shareholder meeting in May 2011 (Photo: Flickr/Rainforest Action Network)
30 November 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

“The rainforest is our supermarket, our hospital, pharmacy, our school, and it is where we pray,” says Humberto Piaguaje, chief of Ecuador’s Secoya indigenous group, speaking at a Hague Talks discussion timed to coincide with the annual state parties meeting of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In stark contrast with the audience in The Hague, he wears a white tunic, overlaid by long, colourful beads crossing at the waist, and a red and yellow headdress. The Secoya see themselves as part of their habitat, the Amazon rainforest, where each earthly element has a living spirit identity. “The trees are our siblings,” the chief explains. “That’s why we feel so hurt when someone comes and destroys our land.”

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